Monday, October 29, 2012

Movie Review: Creature From the Black Lagoon

 In 1978, Northern Indiana experienced one of the worst blizzards in its history.  The whole city of Fort Wayne, Indiana, was snowed-in for several days.  The local independent television station, WFFT, had a late-night crew that was just as trapped by the storm at the station as anyone was at home.  Instead of going off the air at midnight, the crew decided to run old horror films that they had in their vault, part of what I understand was the owner Steve Shine's personal collection.  The 24-hour format was a hit, resulting in "Night Owl Theater".  Friday nights were dedicated to old horror films. 

 I was 6 in 1978, and it was thanks to WFFT's late-night film that I became familiar with all the classics in horror.  The Creature From the Black Lagoon was one of the first films I saw.  To this day, I still find the film enjoyable, regardless of the cheesy script and rubber gill-man suit.  It captured my young imagination, and remains one of my favorite classic horror films.

Trust us.  We're scientists!
 In many ways, The Creature From the Black Lagoon was extremely ambitious for its time.  Made in 1954, it featured young Julie Adam's cavorting on a ship with nothing but a mail crew often in nothing but a one-piece swim-suit.  Her character, Kay Lawrence, was a college-educated and independent young scientist.  She was also openly engaged in cultivating the attentions of two men; David her fellow scientist and Mark her boss.  Of course, Kay would entice the interest of the male lead in this story, the Creature himself.

Yeah, baby.  You like it wet.
 The film was also one of the first films to be shot in "3-D", requiring special polarized glasses for the effect.  It also dealt with some controversial ideas, evolution being the most prominent.  The lungfish seems to have been a popular scientific discovery at the time, and is used to support the idea of evolutionary variation resulting in divergent and unfamiliar creatures and lines of development.

 Throughout the film, I kept hearing what I consider echoes of King Kong from 1933.  We have the female love-interest who attracts that attention of the monster.  We have the hero who's sense of discovery is tempered by common-sense and his interest in his female companion.  We have the financier of the expedition who's ambition and fear failure drive him to take incredible risks and endanger the lives of his crew.  Finally, we have the monster who's only real crimes are being a monster and getting turned-on by the first hotty to some his way in a long time.
I'm a gill-man.  Of course it tastes like fish!

 A fun little vintage film, The Creature From the Black Lagoon is one that should not be missed.

















Movie Review: Tales that Witness Madness

 The first short-story anthology horror film I ever saw was Cat's Eye by Stephen King.  It is a format that I enjoy.  Generally, you have four different stories, each with a continuous thread that relates them one to another.  Tales that Witness Madness is set in an asylum where Professor Tremayne is exploring a revolutionary method in treating his patients, and presents his theories on four of his patients to his friend, Dr. Nicholas.  Each patient appears to be the victim of a highly unusual set of circumstances, and Tremayne encourages them to indulge in their fantastic tales about how someone close to them was killed.  There is Paul, a little boy who's well-to-do parents bicker constantly and neglected him until his friend, Mr. Tiger, killed them both.  Timothy is an antique dealer who rides a Penny Farthing bicycle back in time to experience the life of Uncle Albert, leading to the destruction of his store and the death of his young bride.  Brian brought to his home a dead tree as a work of art which his wife loathed until it seemed to take on a will of its own and kill her.  Finally, the ambitious Auriol plans a sumptuous luau for one her most prominent and enigmatic clients, only to discover that he had a far more violent end planned for the evening and her daughter, Ginny. 
One word: splinters.

 Professor Tremayne's theories are based on phenomenon he witnesses himself relating to his four patients, but when he attempts to show Dr. Nicholas this phenomenon, Nicholas sees nothing and assumes that Tremayne is also suffering from some form of psychotic episode.  The truth eventually reveals itself to Nicholas, but by then it is already too late.

Dreams about being raped by a tree.
 Tales that Witness Madness, released in 1973, wasn't a terrible film.  It was more weird than frightening.  The actors are not slouches by any stretch of the imagination; Joan Collins, Mary Tamm, and Donald Pleasance are all featured in the film.  The stories themselves each seem unfinished or not fully developed, more sketches of an idea than something fully conceived.  There is a lot of off-screen violence, a typical trick in more modern films (1973 compared to 1940) when a budget for special effects is minimal.  

A haunted bicylce... why not?
 Compared to films like the original Wicker Man and The Exorcist, which were released in the same year, Tales that Witness Madness pales in comparison.  There is really nothing to see here.   








Monday, October 22, 2012

Movie Review: Vile

  My girlfriend normally avoids horror films, so it was a mild surprise when one night she was flipping through Netflix and stated that she wanted to watch Vile.  I checked out the description, which suggested it was a Saw knock-off, and just kind of groaned.  I have seen so many movies compared to Saw, which has set the standard for torture-horror, that were steaming piles of crap that initially I wanted to suggest a nice romantic comedy instead.
 Still, it's not often that my girl wants to watch horror, and since she hasn't seen the Saw films she really had no basis for comparison to be disappointed.  So, we check it out.

Vile is actually not that bad.

 The situation is familiar.  A group of apparent strangers are trapped in a building.  They must endure torture in order to have any hope of escape.  This has become the staple of torture-horror, which has become its own genre in horror films.  The twist here is that the implements of the torture must be devised by the victims themselves.  Each of the victims has been rigged with a device meant to collect a particular chemical generated by the brain when the body is placed in extreme duress as well as a deliver a poison to the brain if they attempt to remove the device or do anything else that might prevent the experiment.  It appears that this is an experiment devised by a scientist who requires the chemical for research.  With the foundation established, the rest of the film is 90 minutes of the characters torturing one another while trying to figure out who has trapped them and why.

Tell me this guy doesn't remind you of Shaggy.
 Clearly, there are some issues.  The premise itself is faulty.  First of all, if each of these people could be captured and a device surgically connected to their brains, then no doubt the captors have the capability to induce the necessary stress to collect the chemical themselves.  In fact, the body could probably be put through the same paces individually with the conscious mind having no memory of the torture.  All the victims would be left with would be some scars and weird nightmares.  There is no need to trap these people in a house and allow them to band together.

 Also, who in their right mind thinks they are escaping this situation with their lives?  You're trapped in a house, forced to torture others and endure extreme torture yourself, and when all is said-and-done you get to go on with your life with a thank-you and a pat-on-the-back?  No, your captors, be they the government, aliens, the mafia, or evil scientists are not going to allow you to run off and alert the authorities and populace about their experiments.  You are going to die even if you comply with the experiment.  Your only options are trying to escape or simply non-compliance.
You'll love to hate this bitch

 The setting is also a problem.  It appears to be a house that has been converted to a trap with steel-shutters on the windows and doors.  It has typical furnishings, dishes, even a waffle-iron.  Escape through the doors and windows is apparently impossible, but if it is just a house, then the walls are nothing more than plaster and wood.  The various tools left in the house for the victims to use to torture one another could be used to break through the walls.  

 With these things in mind, the experiment would fail every time.  No one would comply to torturing one another, and each group would have to be executed.

 Finally, there is the collection process.  The chemical generated by the brain is caused by stress and pain.  The chemical is collected as the victims torture one another, and apparently ONLY when they torture one another.  I would think that as the group stresses about being trapped, argues about their predicament, and fight one another, this chemical would also be generated. Only once throughout the film is this the case.
King of Bad-Days.

 Other than these issues with the premise and plot devices, the film was a fair offering.  I called the real twist in the film in the first 15 minutes, but then I am more familiar with these kinds of films than most.  Also, the uber-bitch in this film buys her ticket to the torture table WAY earlier in the film than what actually occurs if it were me making the argument, but this is fiction, not reality. 

 Vile is a good flic, if you set your expectations a little lower then normal.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Movie Review: House II: The Second Story

 I am simply a glutton for punishment. 

 I just watched the first House a little more than a week ago.  I had some time to kill today, so instead of doing something productive I decided to get this thing out of my que.  Another 88 minutes of my life I will not get back.

 House II does a few things right. First of all, it gives up the ghost (get it?) trying to be a horror movie and goes for a horror-themed comedy.  For that, and that alone, I feel this was better than the original.  It is intentionally hokey.  The story is entertaining, if ridiculous, and it is full of 80s self-importance and shallow facades.  While having no real connection to the last film, it does include John Ratzenberger as Bill, who's fellow Cheers cast-member George Wendt appeared as the neighbor in the first film.

Aww yeah.  Shit just got real.
 That's about all that is good about it.  The acting was fair given the story, and the special effects were a notch up from purely rubber-suits, though I think a Jim Henson fan was a little too involved with the production.  Jesse, the lead character, is related to the person who made the house, but apparently not to Roger Cobb, the person who grew up in the house with his Aunt and Uncle.  This is never explained in the film, and it bothered me throughout, especially as Jesse thumbs through old photos which had been at the house during its entire existence.  

This film was brought to you by the letters 'f" and 'u'...
 As I write this and do my little bit of extra research, I see that they have made at least two more, and possibly as many as four more sequels.  The third film, "Horror Show", has nothing to do with the series, so perhaps I will get a little reprieve when I watch it.








Movie Review: Clive Barker's Lord of Illusions



 I am a Clive Barker fan, though I enjoy his writing more than his movies.  This film is based on his short-story "The Last Illusion" from Books of Blood: Volume 4, which I recall reading and enjoying more than the film.

 Don't get me wrong.  The film is good, just not as good as the original story.  

 The premise of the film is that there are two kinds of magic; that of the illusionist and that of the true magician.  Both are inter-related, with some animosity apparent between those who delve into dark powers and those who only pretend to on stage for profit. 

 Phillip Swann was a member of a magical circle exploring the dark arts under the tutelage of Nix, leader of a fanatical sect.  When things became a little too harsh, Swann and others turned against Nix, stopping him from sacrificing a young girl, killing him, binding him with a metal mask screwed directly into his skull, and burying him deep in the desert.  Death, it seems, is an illusion, and Nix, though incapacitated, might find a way to return. 

I got 99 problems...
 13 years later, Harry D'Amour is sent by his employer from New York to Las Angeles to investigate a case of insurance-fraud.  It is a welcome reprieve from his "normal" cases, which seem to involve dark forces.  His last case involved a demon in possession of a young man, and D'Amour is still suffering from the harrowing experience.  While tailing his suspect, D'Amour stumbles upon a psychic who is being tortured by a couple of men seeking information about "the Puritan".  The men escape, and with his last breath, the psychic reveals to D'Amour a clue as to what is to come.

 D'Amour's picture is splashed in the papers, attracting the attention of Phillip Swann's wife, Dorothea.  Dorothea arranges to meet D'Amour in a cemetery.  She fears that something is amiss with her husband, who has become a wealthy illusionist, arguably the best in the world.  She hires D'Amour to protect her husband from whatever may be coming.

This dude does not catch a break the entire film.
 Unfortunately, Swann's newest illusion, being bound to a rotating table while razor-sharp swords are dropped from the ceiling, goes horribly wrong, and he dies.  D'Amour suspects foul play when he discovers a damaged wire in the device's mechanism.  He proceeds from their to unravel the truth, discovering Swann's connection to Nix's cult and how magic is far more real that he ever believed.

 The film is well done, superbly written with lush details about stage-magic, illusions, and the occult.  The actors, including  Scott Bakula, Daniel von Bargen, Famke Janssen, and Vincent Skiavelli were all more than up-to-the-task.  The atmosphere was also superb, with scenes shot at the actual Magic Castle in Hollywood. The special effects were, well, hit-and-miss.

She's taking the death of her husband really hard.
 The film was made when CGI was in its infancy, and at times suffers greatly for it.  Their is a scene when a specter of Swann appears and attacks D'Amour.  This specter is represented by a geometric design which folds and unfolds on the screen, and is obviously computer generated and not a part of the environment.  It would be another decade or so before production companies would actually begin to get CGI effects right, but it does diminish the film, especially when so many other examples of traditional effects were employed.

 Lord of Illusions, while neither overtly gory or frightening, has enough depth to make it entertaining.
13 years buried in the desert only to end up with an asshole in your forehead.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Movie Review: The Wolfman

  I was very excited when I first saw the previews for this film.  I think I first saw the 1941 The Wolf Man with Lon Channey Jr on the Sammy Terry Show when I was a kid, and I have been fascinated by the werewolf mythos ever since.  This 2010 remake is a far more expansive version of the original, starring Benicia del Tor and Anthony Hopkins.  The film was not well received by the general public who probably expected something more akin to a modern The Howling than a gothic period-piece.  As a fan of the original film, I was very impressed with the handling of the story and the attention to detail in the remake.

 The sets and scenes are all beautiful and lavishly detailed, transporting the viewer back a century in time to Scotland, where something foul is afoot.  The characters are effective and disconcerting; the distrust of Lawrence Talbot is palpable from the townspeople, as is his own confusion about returning to his familiar yet alien homeland.  Lawrence seems to be a broken thing who has been repaired, but only superficially, living on the verge of breaking again at any moment.  His father, Sir John Talbot, is just as contradictory, being both aloof but also expressing concern for his strange son.  The film itself offers this same kind of contradiction; you think you know the story, yet are drawn into alien territory none-the-less.

Tough-Love Level Straight-Jacket.
  Despite the difference between this film and the original, the reveal at the end is telegraphed almost from the beginning.  You figure it out so early that you find yourself just waiting for the characters to figure it out.  Still, the film's settings and the acting has enough depth to overcome this.

 The only real downside for me is the monsters themselves.  Despite benefiting from CGI, the fully transformed monsters appear to be fake and not a part of the environment.  The scenes relying more on make-up are far more impressive.

...And this isn't even my final form!
 Lawerence's escape from the asylum is very satisfying.  Traditionalists who are tired of both the werewolf conspiracy films (werewolves plotting to take over the world) and werewolf superhero films (the curse is turned into a blessing) will appreciate this offering to the werewolf mythos.







Movie review: George Romero's Land of the Dead

  Set three years after the zombie apocalypse in George Romero's Night of the Living Dead, Land of the Dead explore the tenuous and fragile balance that society has managed to scratch out from a world where the dead come back to live and cannibalize the living.  The surviving humans have gathered in major cities converted into feudal strongholds.  One such stronghold is established in what was formerly Pittsburgh, PA.  There, Paul Kaufmann has established Fiddler's Green (named after a mythical encampment where dead soldiers can spend eternity instead of going to Hell as long as they never let their canteens become empty), a skyscraper where the wealthy live in luxury, enjoying all the amenities of the past.  Around Fiddler's Green exist the encampments of the poor used as guards and support staff for Fiddler's Green.   

 Kaufmann commissioned Riley Denbo to create Dead Reckoning, a heavily armored and armed vehicle which can easilly travel into areas controlled by the zombies, allowing teams to go out and collect supplies from abandoned cities with relative ease and safety.  Denbo commands the crew of Dead Reckoning, and is about to retire.  He and Kaufmann disagree on what should be collected from their raids outside the 'Green, Denbo focusing on foodstuffs and medicine while Kaufmann encourages the crew to collect alcohol and luxury items.  Things come to a head as Denbo and his lieutenant, DeMora, both try to retire from being raiders; Denbo has designed a car to carry supplies and allow him to leave Fiddler's Green and go north and DeMora has saved enough to allow him to purchase an apartment among the wealthy in Fiddler's Green proper.  Both are betrayed by Kaufmann, who needs Denbo for his genius and considers DeMora too unsavory for residence in the 'Green.

Survive the Zombie Apocalypse in style!
 Denbo and his team have begun to notice that the zombies are displaying odd traits and behavior, suggesting that they are developing cognitive skills.  Their last raid results in the zombies of that town marching on Fiddler's Green in retaliation, not just to kill and eat living flesh.  The long march requires them to make use of tools and to recognize that the rivers that are normally a barrier on two sides of Fiddler's Green are no obstacle to the dead.  When Mike, one of the crew members, comments that the dead are pretending to be alive, Denbo suggests that this is what they are doing as well.
 
Refugees from a Nickleback concert.
 Like all of the Living Dead movies by George Romero, Land of the Dead is about the exploration of human behaviors, with the zombies being merely an additional source of pressure.  Kaufmann, and to a lesser extent DeMora, prove to be the real monsters in the film.  The struggle is not so much the living versus the dead, but between those who struggle to retain some semblance of their humanity and those who, with no civilized authority to answer to, have abandoned it.  Land of the Dead is a slick film; well written, well performed, and well produced.  The special effects are not overstated, with the gore being expressed believably but not over-the-top.  The characters are a little stereotypical at times, but provide enough depth and personal development during this fast-paced film to be relate-able.  The film also manages to inject plenty of humor into the story without being ridiculous, making for a very well-rounded film. 
 
Fiddler's Green is nice, but no strip-clubs.
 All zombie films, including those by Romero, will be compared to and typically judged as falling short of Night of the Living Dead.  Despite Night of the Living Dead setting the standard for the genre and being a ground-breaking film, I feel it is over-rated.  Land of the Dead is a far more entertaining film, maybe lacking in some of the psychological or social commentary aspects of the first film, but making up for it in other ways.  




Friday, October 12, 2012

Movie Review: The Dunwich Horror

 Ah, 1970 vintage horror.

 The Dunwich Horror, while not the earliest, is one of the best known film adaptation of the work of H.P. Lovecraft, the notorious horror author who has inspired, well, just about any modern horror author you can throw a stick at.  Like so many adaptations of his work, the end result is a far cry from the original tale.  Despite its camp-cheesiness, this film seems to be a favorite among fans of Lovecraft.

Channeling Aleister Crowely.
 Also, it should be noted that this film was a considerable risk in its day, most notably for casting Sandra Dee as the lead female.  Dee was one of America's sweethearts, the original Gidget, who was best known for her portrayal of innocent and wholesome young women.  While her role as Nancy in this film is not far off from her previous roles, Dee performs her first "nude" scene in this film (you briefly see what might be a nipple during the breast-grouping), and spends a great deal of time writhing sexually on a stone altar... not something expected by American society at the time. 

Hentai... the early years.
 If you ignore how poor of an adaptation this film is and consider it on its own merit, it is a fair offering.  The film has some of that hippy-vibe from the time, but the sets are lush and well-done.  The Whateley House has so much going on in it that you may be tempted to review the interior frame-by-frame.  The entire cast provides great performances.  The special effects are, well, typical of a Roger Corman film from that era, but are used so minimally as to not take away from the film.
Looks like my room.

 All-in-all, it is worth the look.

Topless Promo shot not used in the film.


Movie Review: The Omen III: The Final Conflict

 Of the three original Omen films, this was by far the weakest.  The weakness of the film is entirely due to how it was written.  The special effects were on par with other films of the time, and the acting was as good as it could get, with Sam Neil playing Damien Thorn as the fully aware and empowered Antichrist.  The plot simply tried to engage in too much, glossing over several key points that could have been explored more deeply.  In my opinion, there should have been four Omen films, with the third showing Damien's rise to power and setting the final conflict in motion, and the forth being fully about Damien's race to stop the Second Coming, failing in the end in a far more dramatic fashion than the anti-climatic and rushed ending of this film.  The made-for-TV Omen IV is a true waste of film.
 
 There are several things going on throughout the Omen III.  Damien Thorn is manipulating his corporate and political ties to become both Ambassador to Great Brittan and the head of the US Youth Council.  Damien is using the youth of the world as his personal Army, and idea that was touched upon but not really developed.  The film should have explained why Damien was interested in the youth of the world, and why the young were susceptible to his influence.  A sect within the Catholic Church has recovered the seven Daggers of Meggido, the only weapons which can kill Damien.  Seven members of the sect are given the task of assassinating Damien, which is technically a continuity error.  Originally, Damien could only be destroyed using all seven blades; the first would kill the body and the other six would be needed to destroy the soul.  The alignment of stars in the Cassiopeia Constellation forms a "superstar" akin to the Biblical Star of Bethlehem.  This alignment heralds the birth of the new Christ on March 24th, and Damien has interpreted and obscure religious reference to the Second Coming to indicate that the birth will occur in England.  Damien uses his influence in British Society and his demonic powers to execute all male children born on March 24th in Britain, but still fails to kill the Christ-Child.  Damien also takes as a lover the reporter Kate Reynolds and recruits her son as a disciple.  In the end, Reynolds bids for her son in exchange for her help in locating the Christ-Child, struggling with her interest in Damien while becoming aware of who and what he is.

 This is a lot to pack into a two-hour film.
In Damien We Trust.

  While I understand that it may have been necessary to set up their gruesome deaths, I find it odd that the Church would send untrained priests to attempt to assassinate the Antichrist.  You might as well have sent in the Keystone Cops.  First, the resources of the Catholic Church could have purchased far better assassins, and the film could have depicted Damien confidentially recovering each of the daggers himself after each kill.  Second, shouldn't these priests have known that their attempts would fail, as their own Bible predicts the rise, reign, and fall of the Antichrist? 

 Also, it was established in the first two films that Damien already had a network of devoted followers, even before he fully accepted his fate.  These disciples have proven to be absolutely devoted to Damien, willfully killing themselves to demonstrate their faith.  Yet, Damien's closest lieutenant, Dean, appears to doubt his own role, the validity of Damien's claims, and is clearly no where close to the level of loyalty expressed by Damien's other followers.  You would think that the Antichrist, with a massive network of fanatical devotees, massive wealth, and international corporation, the ear of the political elite, as well as his own demonic faculties, would be a bit more discerning in selecting his majordomo.

 
The sex was a little rough, but she was into it.

 The end of the film was a real let-down, even after what had been a milk-toast film.  Damien's death is almost meaningless, with his final statements being to a ghostly image of Jesus in the light of the rising sun that only he actually sees.  The film rolls into text on screen celebrating the Second Coming.  It leaves you wondering if you had just seen a horror-film or a church-sponsored morality play.  Honestly, The Omega Code films were probably better End-Times/Antichrist flics.



Monday, October 8, 2012

Movie Review: The Howling: Reborn

 A lot of people have dumped on this film.  Frankly, I was not expecting much when I watched it.  The first Howling was the only film in the franchise really worth seeing, and then only because of its novel and grisly special effects.  The 2nd film of the franchise was just riding on the interest in the first, and the third film was about as far removed from the first two as you could get.

 This film, which is actually based on the second book, was far better than I expected.  First, the production value of the film itself was high for a direct-to-dvd production.  The story was engaging and the acting was well-done by all.  Where it was disappointing was in its failure to live-up to the marks set by the first film, being neither very sexy nor very gory.

I would be wondering what other werewolf got to her first.
 The story is about a young man during his Senior Year in high school who discovers that he is a werewolf.  The first thing that seems a little off, other than the pregnant woman being attacked by a werewolf, is that the school in question has what can only be described as an anti-zombie security system.  When the system is armed, the entire school (every window and door) is seal with a metal shutter.  A bit fantastic and arguably unnecessary, but not so much as to take you out of the film. 

Cool Halloween costumes.
 The film presents a nice, if often used, segue into describing the werewolf.  The protagonist's best-friend is an armature film-maker who has been making films about werewolves.  He explains all there is to know about werewolves; they change during the full-moon, can transmit their curse via a scratch/bite/fluid exchange, and can only be killed by silver and fire.  A new wrinkle is added to the mythology with the introduction of the "alpha" werewolf, who can only be killed by another werewolf.  I would assume that this is a werewolf either descended from the original line (pure-breed vs. transformed), or one who is born a werewolf instead of being changed.  

Eww... Dog breath.
 The film's biggest weakness is the presentation of the werewolf itself.  I give it marks for attempting to make use of old-school special-effects; the werewolves are latex outfits.  The film tries to make the use of rubber-costumes less obvious by keeping the monsters to darkness and shadows throughout most of the film.  Unfortunately, the monster must eventually be revealed, and the one-piece mask is a little difficult to pull-off as convincingly alive.  

 If you can ignore these flaws, then the Howling: Reborn is a good werewolf story.  If your looking for something akin to The Howling, then my only suggestion is to keep looking.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Movie Review: Waxwork

 The movie poster promises far more than this film delivers.  There is a little initial promise; 6 stereo-typical 80s hipsters are invited to visit a mysterious waxwork display at midnight.  After some initially whining about their plights as privileged upper-class kids, they visit the creepy mansion with its gallery of scenes from a variety of horror films.  One by one, they are draw into the scenes, discovering that each represents a real world, and becoming victims of those worlds.

 If that were the whole story, this might have been a cool flic.  No need to tell us about the owner of the gallery or his freak servants.  No need to tie one of the kids to the owner through his grandfather and his cadre of codgers who had a penchant for studying black magic.  Nope, give me half-a-dozen well-done 80s style horror vignettes, and I would be happy. 

Oh God! Let me out of this bad movie!
 Without giving too much of the story away (because it is really not worth going into), one of the plot premises is that there are 18 scenes representing the worlds of 18 evil men/creatures from history.  These scenes are centered on items owned by those 18 men.  Never mind that most of the scenes feature fictional characters (Dracula, a werewolf, the Invisible Man, etc), at least with those scenes you have a central character that you can see has been fictionalized by history.  Tell me, who precisely is the evil man in the Night of the Living Dead scene? 

 Go ahead.  I'll wait.

Yeah... that looks real.
 That's right, there IS NO EVIL PERSON with which to base the scene on, yet there it is!

 And, how... HOW does this thing merit an 'R' rating?  The BDSM?  The guys half-eaten leg?  I'm just not seeing it.

 If you haven't seen it, don't bother.  If you have, my condolences. 







Movie Review: House

 House is meant to be funny and scary, but unfortunately it doesn't really manage to be either.  The Greatest American Hero (you kids of the 70s will know who I am talking about) plays an author who moves back into his aunt's old house, the place where he saw his son vanish into a swimming pool, to finish his book about his experiences in the Viet Nam War.  

 Because nothing is more relaxing than returning to where the most horrific event you can experience as an adult has occurred.  Crazy 'Nam vet in rambling old house where his son disappeared!  That's gotta be good for some laughs.

 Norm from Cheers is his nosy neighbor, who can't take a hint and mind his own damn business, nearly getting the author arrested and himself killed.  Meanwhile, the spirits of the house, including one from his past in Viet Nam, seek to torture the author the way they did his aunt, driving her to hang herself in one of the rooms upstairs.

 LOL! Hilarious!

I can get this costume at the Halloween Store.
 Most of the special effects are the same grade as one might see at a local spook-house for Halloween.  I'm a fan of old-school techniques, but when you don't do anything to hide the fact that its a guy in a rubber-suit, you have problems.  

 I am certain that the story looked better on paper.  William Katt (The Greatest American Hero), George Wendt (Cheers), and Richard Moll (Night Court) are all great actors with comedic leanings, and they do a fair job, but they didn't have much to work with.  I have no idea how this thing got an 'R' rating, as you will see scarier in an after-school special.
Slimer's mom?