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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Rage (2010)

One of the things I enjoy about being a movie reviewer is having the opportunity to see films I may not normally get to see in the theatre.  One of the ways I get to do this is when a director agrees to send me a screener copy of their movie so I can review it.

Dennis Twist starts the day of thinking that the most trouble he's going to have is the emotional outburst from his mistress when he breaks up with her.  Unfortunately, a chance encounter with a biker takes him down a road that can only end in death... either for the biker... or him and his wife...

My friends from "Film Reviews From the Basement" reviewed this movie not too long ago.  About the same time, writer/director Christopher Witherspoon agreed to send me a copy for my own review.  He actually worked as part of the MMI Crew on the 1985 movie, "Re-Animator," as well as a stunt double on the film "Black Santa's Revenge," in 2007.  Other than "Rage," Witherspoon also wrote and directed a 2004 movie called, "Middle Man."  Since I'm always looking for those films that push the boundaries, or offer something different in the horror genre, I readily agreed to view the movie and record my thoughts.

This is a well made movie, to be honest.  The use of  interesting camera angles, editing, and even the application of various effects filters all combined to make a very professionally crafted piece.  The visual pace is quick when it needed to be, and slower when it needed to be in order to give us that build up on tension and the sudden release of it.  Witherspoon is really skilled at visual storytelling.  I liked how some scenes were grainier than others, and the black and white flashbacks were good too.  The only complaint I had with the visuals was the fact that you don't get to see much in the way of grue when the Biker uses the chainsaw on the old couple- though the use of the camera to show shots of the blood on the walls and the old man's face was still pretty good.

Rick Crowford plays Dennis Twist- the man who incurs the rage of the Biker.  He looked good in the role, but I had some trouble liking him.  I found him to be a little depressing and almost TOO passive for most of the movie.  Even when he does finally stand up for himself, he has to be saved by someone else. And to be perfectly honest, if I had been in the situation where I find out that someone (the Biker) has cut my brake line... then beats the tar out of me in the restroom of the mechanic shop, I would say, "Screw the wife finding out about my mistress- I'm going to call the cops and stop this guy before he kills me."  I simply wouldn't have let it escalate further after the first attempt on my life.

I liked Audrey Walker in the role of Dennis' wife, Crystal.  She doesn't get much screen time, but plays a major role story-wise- especially in the last 1/2 hour or so.  She looked like the sort of woman you see on the street everyday- not supermodel gorgeous, but attractive nonetheless.  The scene at the end when she just starts whaling on the Biker with his own knife was great.  I especially liked the way she then stood over Dennis with the knife.

The director, Christopher Witherspoon played the Biker, and brought some elements of Michael Meyers to the character.  He never once said a word, but you could tell by his body language what his intent was: to cause you as much torment as possible.  His ability to just sorta be there out of nowhere was very much in keeping with the feel of "Halloween," and movies like that.  Just a fantastic job.

If "Rage" had the budget to show us some of the grue during the chainsaw sequence, and if the main character hadn't been so depressing and passive, I would definately watch this over and over again.  As it stands, though, I'd watch it maybe once a year.  It's certainly worth being watched at least once by fans of low budget, but well produced indie horror films.  I'm giving, "Rage" a spot in "The Bad".

Monday, February 27, 2012

Corner of Terror Finally Has a Logo!

As those of you that read this blog on a regular basis know, I recently celebrated my 1st year doing this blog, and that I updated the graphics on the site.  Well,  If you look in the lower left corner (or at the top of this post, actually), you will see the logo I just did for this blog.  Woo Hoo!

I call it, "Zombie Stew".

I would love to hear your thoughts and comments on this simple, but (in my opinion) charming symbol.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Keep My Grave Open (1976)


This past Thursday, I asked people on Facebook and Twitter to choose which movie I would watch that night for review today.  The choices were:

  • "Crypt of the Living Dead" (1973);
  • "Keep My Grave Open" (1976); and
  • "A Nightmare on Elm Street" (1984)
Ultimately, those that responded chose, "Keep My Grave Open," so I watched it.

Lesley Fontaine lives in a secluded mansion with her brother Kevin.  It just so happens that Lesley and Kevin love their privacy... and each other.  Unfortunately for hapless visitors, this love may be unhealthy... for them...

"Keep My Grave Open" is brought to us by S.F. Brownrigg- who also produced and directed the enjoyable, but deplorable movie, "Don't Look in the Basement".  This movies is just as flawed- if not more so than the other one.

There was some decent acting in this movie by Camilla Carr- who plays the rather disturbed Lesley Fontaine.  She did a great job of portraying a woman who had become disconnected from the world around her, and was blurring the line between what was real, and what was inside her mind.  The range of psychosis she displayed was varied and interesting- going from aloof and frigid to sensual and sexy to pained and tormented smoothly and effectively.

The rest of the cast was less than stellar.  Stephen Tobolowsky, wasn't bad as the hired hand, Robert... but couldn't get me to care about the rather wimpy character.  Ann Stafford as Suzie- Robert's girlfriend was annoying, whiney, and petulant.  I was glad when she was finally run through with a sword... too bad she wasn't diced up.  Twinkle, the prostitute- played by Sharon Bunn was a decent short term character (basically introduced just to die, like the hitch hiker at the start).  The name alone amused me.

There was a LOT of potential to this story, but as is often the case, the execution failed to delivery it in a satisfactory fashion.  Maybe if it had stuck to the basic premise of visitors being killed, rather than the killer luring people to the house (as was the case with Twinkle).  I felt that the writer had run out of steam, and said, "screw it".  The pace was also pretty slow storywise.  One thing I did like about the storyline was the ending.  I actually wasn't expecting it to end the way it did.

"Keep My Grave Open" did have some decent camera work in some scenes, while in others, it wasn't as effective.  The scene where Suzie was being terrorized by the killer before being killed was well shot.  Another almost decent scene was the rather "erotic" scene where Lesley is attempting to seduce her brother, Kevin.  It's all shot from Kevin's POV, and had some nice shots- but the zooming in on her earlobes and nose detracted from the effectiveness.  I swear the camera lense smacked her in the nose a few solid hits.  The rest of the movie is filmed in such a way as to create a rather dreary, washed out, lifeless environment- as was fitting for the story.

In regards to gore.  Almost none.  Zero... zip... nada.  This is strange and disappointing when you consider the fact that the killer was roaming around with a huge ass sabre.  Seriously disappointed.

Despite Carr's decent acting, and a great sense of mood and atmopshere, a plodding plot, lackluster acting, and absolutely no grue tosses "Keep My Grave Open" in the open abyss that is "The Ugly".

Thursday, February 23, 2012

It Came From Another World! (2007)


Back in November, I did a review of Christopher R. Mihm's movie, "The Monster of Phantom Lake," and enjoyed it- giving a seat in "The Good".  Well today, I review his sequal to it, "It Came From Another World!"

Professor Jackson's friend and colleague Doctor Frasier is late returning from an expedition into the wood.  When he goes in search of his friend, Professor Jackson discovers a strange meteorite that may be linked to his friend's absence and strange behaviour.  Soon, Professor Jackson is thrown into a fight to save the world... and his wedding...

Just like "The Monster of Phantom Lake," this movie is a humorous tribute to the old drive-in B-movies of the 1950's.

Is it as good as the first one?  While I was still entertained- and came away smiling at the end, there were some minor flaws that brought it down below the entertainment level of the first one.

I enjoyed the acting of M. Scott Taulman & Mike Cook as the Canoe Cops, Sven & Gustav.  They were introduced "The Monster of Phantom Lake," and I was pleased to see them play a bigger role in this movie.  My only quibble about them was the fact that their appearance in this movie contradicts what happens in the first one.  Mind you, B-movies from the 1950's really didn't worry about continuity, I think.  I really liked the characters.  They were funny, without being exaggerated.

It was unfortunate that Leigha Horton wasn't in this one, as I enjoyed her character and the chemistry between her and Josh Craig- who plas Professor Jackson.  I'm not saying that Shannon McDonough was bad in the role of Julie Ann Saint Marie- the professor's love interest in this movie, but I had a hard time liking the character.  I just didn't get the same feeling of chemistry between the actors.

As much as I enjoyed Josh Craig's performance in "The Monster of Phantom Lake," I had a bit of a problem this time around.  His character's speech patterns are very similar to cariactures of William Shatner's Kirk character- which I didn't mind.  The problem came when they over-exaggerated the pauses to the point where even the other characters were awkwardly looking around.  While he seemed natural in the first movie, this time he seemed a little forced.

Mike Mason as Doctor Frasier was pretty good.  In fact, some of the actor's mannerism, speech, and facial expressions reminded me a bit of Jim Carrey.  I liked the character and found him interesting.  I especially loved the scene where he wakes up in the bed of Deanne McDonald- who returns in a cameo as Elizabeth from the first movie.  Loved it!  Mason and McDonald worked well together in that scene.

The camera work, once again, is pretty simple... keeping with the style of the low budget films of the 1950's, but still interesting.  The afore mentioned scene with Mason and McDonald was just brilliant in my opinion with the various shots of Mason and all these collectible owls around the room.  The special effects with the glows was well done too- which, unfortunately made me wonder if they could've done better with the ping pong eyes.

While I did enjoy this movie, the minor flaws I found were just enough to keep it from being put in "The Good," so I'm going to have to put it in "The Bad".  It's enjoyable and entertaining, but not one I would watch on a random day when I'm in the mood for a B-movie.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Bloody Valentine (1981)


Last year, around Valentine's Day, I reviewed the rather craptacular "Valentine".  This year, I'm going to be reviewing a true classic of of the holiday horror films- the 1981 Canadian made, "My Bloody Valentine", since I was able to find a copy and watch it this year.

Sorry it's a week late... shall I give you my heart?

After a mine collapse caused by negligence on Valentine's Day, Harry Warden is found alive, but insane... having eaten the others trapped with him.  A year, Harry returns and kills several people- warning the town of Valentine's Bluff that it'll happen again if they ever throw another Valentine's Day dance.


The town has faithfully heeded this warning until one year, against the requests of the sheriff, a small group decide to have a Valentine's Day party... out at the mine where Harry went insane...

This is classic 1980's horror material.  You can certainly see elements of John Carpenter's "Halloween" in some of the scenes, and general theme.  I have to say that I certainly enjoyed watching it.

The camera work, while not as slick as many of the movies produced now, is still interesting and effective for the most part.  There is some real good use of shadow to create mood and atmosphere, that contrasted with other parts that were brighter and more upbeat.  I was really impressed with how they did the filming in the mine tunnels- which were filmed in the Princess Colliery Mine of Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia.  The site was chosen because they looked "dreary, cold and dusty".  Unfortunately, when they arrived, they found the mine redecorated by the townfolks to, "make it more presentable".

The acting is typical of horror movies from the 1980's- not super spectacular, but still enjoyable.  Paul Kelman was good as T.J Hanniger, Jr, and Neil Affleck did a good job as his friend/rival Axel Palmer.  Sarah, the girl they both loved, was played nicely by Lori Hallier.  I enjoyed Don Francks in the role of Chief Jake Newby, as well as Alf Humphreys as Mayor Landers.  Of course, the best acting was done by Peter Cowper in his role as The Miner/Harry Warden.  It's not easy to acting without saying a word, and wearing a gas mask, you know.

I enjoyed the characters- and liked them, despite the fact that most of them were the sort you find in ANY horror film.  You come to like them and want them to survive.  They're also all distinct from each other, yet mesh well.  Their interactions were entertaining and fun.

Despite the fact that it is a little dated visually, "My Bloody Valentine" is one of those films that I would have no problem pulling out for a 1980's horror night, or just for the simple fun of it.  I'm going to place it in 'The Good"...

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Omen (1976 & 2006)


In this day and age, it seems that we're destined to be flooded with an endless deluge of remakes, reboots, reimaginings and even rehashes of classic movies- including conversions of old TV shows into movies.  I have noticed however, that the horror genre seems to be suffering the heaviest torrents of revisitations.  With that realization, I'll be doing a "double bill" today...


Let's start with the 1976 release of "The Omen", shall we?  The premise is interesting and simple enough to provide potential directions for storytelling:

A prominent politician's pregnant wife suffers a loss when the son dies shortly after birth.  Before she can find out, the politician agrees to subsitute a newborn orphan for his own... Too bad that the son is the spawn of Satan...

The acting is a little lifeless at moments, but in general was pretty good.  I enjoyed Gregory Peck as Robert Thorn- the politician, and Lee Remick as his wife was nice to look at, though her acting was a little off at times.  I really enjoyed David Warner as the photographer, Keith Jennings.  We was sleazy, lively and sardonic- an interesting character.  I actually found his character a little more interesting than the somewhat stilted politician.  Patrick Troughton as Father Brennan was fantastic, I thought.  Harvey Stephens was an excellent choice for the role of Damien Thorn- Satan's spawn.  He had the cute, angelic, and charming face of a sweet kid, while giving us a sense of the evil waiting to blossom in later years.

There is some decent scenes in this movie.  The scene where the politician and his wife are taking Damien to church was good, the way Damien started to huff and huff, then go ape shit was well done and energetic.  I also really liked the scene where Father Brennan meets with Robert Thorn to warn him... just before the priest dies- just a fantastic scene.  Another great scene is where Keith Jennings gets decapitated.  The camera work is simple, but effective- as were the special effects used.  The only scene I really had any problems with was the one in the abandoned graveyard when Thorn and Jennings are seeking the grave of Damien's biological mother.  I just couldn't get over how much like a set it looked.  It looked artificial, and I couldn't help be disappointed in it- even though the acting set the mood, etc well.

This movie isn't super fast paced, but once things start to happen at Damien's birthday party (the montage just before it was nicely done), there is a constant sense of tension and apprehension that really made me engaged by the story and characters.  I would definately sit down and watch this on more than one occaison.  I'm going to place this release of "The Omen" in "The Good".


So, now we move onto the 2006 remake.  I was interested in seeing what new stuff the makers could bring to the franchise in terms of concepts, character points, etc.  Sadly to say, I was a little disappointed.

This is a very slick production in terms of visuals, but beyond that, it falls a little flat.  I copies the original in many regards- including at some points almost verbatim dialogue.  There are some minor changes, but they're too few to really make you see this as an original look at the source material.  Most of the changes are simply cosmetic- the decapitation scene being a good example.  The method was changed, and looks great, but lacks any real storytelling punch due to the rest of the movie moving almost beat for beat the same as the original.  Unlike the original, the remake lacks the sense of constant tension and impending dread that is needed in a slow paced story like this.

I honestly didn't like Liev Schreiber as Roberth Thorn.  I found the character and the acting to be a little fake and shallow.  Julia Styles as Katherine Thorn wasn't bad, but not great.  To be perfectly honest, I found the supporting characters more interesting and better acted than the main characters.  David Thewlis wasn't bad as Keith Jennings, and Michael Gambon as the archeologist Bugenhagen was great.  I loved the scene where the two characters meet, because of the look the two exchange.  It was as if the two actors were a little surprised to see each other, since they both star in the Harry Potter movies too (Thewlis plays Remus Lupin, while Gambon plays the second Dumbledore).  It was nice to see Mia Farrow as the nanny, Mrs. Baylock.  No stranger to horror movies, Farrow brought a nice sense of sinister intent to the character.  I also thought that Pete Postlethwaite's turn as Father Brennan was fantastic- his face brought a lot of emotion and depth to his character.  The actor who portrays Damien- Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, wasn't bad, but lacked the contrast of looking sweet and innocent while harboring a dark evil.  Just looking and listening to him, you KNOW he's evil incarnate.  He was good at creeping me out though.

Even though it's a slick looking production, with great performances by the supporting cast, the lack of any emotional connection to the leading characters and an almost indentical copying of the original movie, I don't feel any great desire to sit down and rewatch this anytime soon.  I would recommend it for at least ONE viewing, just so people can see great performances by Mia Farrow and Pete Postlethwaite.  Those two great performers though aren't enough to kee me from placing the 2006 release of "The Omen" in "The Ugly"

Sunday, February 12, 2012

One Year!


It's a special day here in "The Corner of Terror".  As of today, "The Corner of Terror" is one year old!

Yay!

So, to celebrate, I dd some cool graphic changes to the site.  As you can see, I've got a new background, section dividers, and even a new banner!  Woo Hoo!  Let me know what you think, eh? :D

In the course of the past year, I've had a total of 27,212 page views, with January 2011 being the month with the most views (5,167)!  My top five most popular to date so far are:

  1. The Curtain Rises... and the Lights Dim... (13,846 pageviews);
  2. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (729 pageviews);
  3. Sleepy Hollow (704 pageviews);
  4. William Castle Tribute IV: Rosemary's Baby (552 pageviews); and
  5. Happy Birthday to Me! (453 pageviews).
 Twitter and Google are the main sources of traffic, with the following being the top five countries visiting:

  1. United States (9,448 pageviews);
  2. United Kingdom (2,812 pageviews);
  3. Canada (2,464 pageviews);
  4. India (1,425 pageviews); and
  5. Australia (722 pageviews)
Just some cool stats for those interested in such stuff. LOL

I was thinking last night about some of the movies I enjoyed watching and reviewing, and figured that I would list (and explain) my choices for the top five movies I've watched... and the bottom five I've watched this year.

Top Five Movies (in alphabetical order):

  • Buried (2010)- Just a simply phenomenal movie that shows that you don't need a lot of gore, cgi, or a huge budget (or cast) when you have a good story, great suspense, and a great actor to portray an interesting and relatable character.  There is one set- a box underground, but the camera work is still able to make it interesting and non-static.  Truly a creative and innovative horror film.
  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)- A true classic and deserving of its place as an iconic horror film.  Great acting, and an interesting story all combine with a truly unique artistic sense to create a film that dared to push the visual medium into new areas.  Definately one for horror fans to see.
  • Carnival of Souls (1962)- A nicely creepy, atmospheric movie with some flaws- but still enjoyable and capable of leaving you a little un-nerved and wondering what REALLY happened.  Great use of shadows and music to create its mood, though some of the acting could've been better.
  • Dog Soldiers (2002)- Just plain fun to watch.  Great humour, great characters, great story, great gore, great werewolve effects... just great entertainment.
  • Paranormal Activity (2007)- A well done, low budget, movie that builds the tension nicely with subtle- and believable things happening and likable characters.  Shows that sometimes simple is better.
Bottom Five Movies (in alphabetical order):

  • The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961)-  This movie deserves it's title as one of the worst horror movies ever made.  The production values are low, the characters uninteresting, there's a semi-nude scene that has nothing to do with the rest of the movie, and the "beast" doesn't look much like a beast at all... just a big bald guy with oatmeal on his face...
  • Curse of Bigfoot (1978)- Just ugh.  The title is misleading, the film is just a rehash of an older, horrible movie, there's no real bigfoot involved (**SPOILER ALERT**), and there's only one kill- and you don't even get to see it.  Just ugh.
  • The Monster Walks (1932)-  When you have a movie where you're feeling sorry for a gorilla appearing in a movie (from an actor's standpoint), you know it's a horrible movie.  Seriously, I felt sorry that the gorilla had to appear in this film- and I felt sorry for Willie Best for having to portray such a stereotypical racial character... even though his acting was the best of the lot.
  • Uninvited (1993)- This one almost made into "The Bad," but its flaws were just too much to handle, and I had to put it into "The Ugly".  Weak (and uninteresting) characters, and a weak story combined to create a pretty flawed movie that had potential to be creepy, scary and entertaining.
  • Valentine (2001)-  David Boreanaz and Denise Richards aren't enough to save this movie from being insipid and boring.  The camera work was nice, but what does that matter when you don't even care if the characters die?
So, there you have it- my Top & Bottom Five films reviewed over the past year.  Hopefully, by this time next year, I'll have enough books and games reviewed to do the same for them.  Keep visiting, and let's make year two even bettter! 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Dark Fest 2012

I originally posted about this YESTERDAY, but had to pull it (ie- delete it), because one of the films had been pulled due to it not being of "Canadian Content"... now, however, it seems that that film is BACK into the 16th "Kamloops Canadian & International Film Festival," and I've been asked to repost this.  Unfortunately, when you delete a post here... it's gone for good.

And I'm just too lazy on Friday to be witty and write my own version of the press release that my friends at "Film Reviews From the Basement" gave me... so I'm going to type exactly what they posted on their own blog- but with the added change about the film.

So, read on...
From out of the cinematic basement and onto the big screen, the 16th "Kamloops Canadian and International Film Festival" has plunged into a dark realm of B-grade movie entertainment with the inaugural "Dark Fest", a loving tribute to the frightful side of cinema.
To do so, the gentle Kamloops Film Festival Committee turned to a couple of guys who appreciate everything that's good about bad movies: Jason and Shawn, co-hosts of 92.5FM CFBX Kamloops' premiere film review show "Film Reviews from the Basement".
Jason and Shawn looked deep into the darkest corner of the basement to find four films guaranteed to thrill, chill, frighten and possibly offend audiences at Thompson Rivers University's Clocktower Alumni Theatre on March 9 and 10.
And The Basement Dwellers have recruited a fellow Canuck who is no stranger to horror to make this "Dark Fest" a success: actor, writer, director, stunt man and film critic John Fallon. Fallon is probably best known within the horror community as The Arrow, head honcho of the Montreal-based horror news website "Arrow in the Head". Fallon will be on site throughout "Dark Fest", and will show some of his work during the festival.
But what are the films on the chopping block this dark weekend? Read on:

The festival kicks off March 9 at 7 p.m. with writer/director Ti West's "The Innkeepers". Sara Paxton ("Shark Night 3D", "Super Hero Movie") and Pat Healy ("24", "Rescue Dawn") star as two employees at the Yankee Pedlar Inn who are determined to reveal the hotel's haunted past. They begin to experience disturbing events as old guests check in for a stay. Kelly McGillis of Top Gun fame co-stars. A preview for Fallon's upcoming French horror film "Dead Shadows" will screen prior to "The Innkeepers".  If we're unable to show, "The Innkeepers," the movie, "Hobo With a Shotgun" will be shown in its stead.

Fallon will introduce "Deaden" at 9 p.m. He wrote and stars in this actioner, shot in his native Montreal under the direction of Christian Viel. Deaden follows ex-undercover cop turned biker Rane, who witnesses the brutal murder of his pregnant wife before being left for dead with an arrow in the head. Upon his exit from hospital, Rane arms himself to the teeth and goes on an substance fueled, psychotic rampage. in the name of retribution. Fallon will conduct a brief Q&A after the film.

The festival resumes at 7 p.m. on March 10 with Sevé Schelenz's Canadian found-footage horror film "Skew". The film has screened at 40 film festivals worldwide and we're excited to make it a part of our first Dark Fest. Schelenz's tale follows Simon, Rich, and Eva as they head out on an eagerly anticipated road trip, they bring along a video camera to record their journey. What starts out as a carefree adventure slowly becomes a descent into the ominous as unexplained events threaten to disrupt the balance between the three close friends.
"Dark Fest" concludes with "Some Guy Who Kills People" at 9 p.m. Jack Perez's horror comedy is about a small town loser who, fresh out of the looney bin, seeks revenge on those he deems responsible for ruining his life. The movie is produced by Hollywood legend John “An American Werewolf In London” Landis and stars veteran actors Kevin Corrigan ("Fringe", "Unstoppable"), Barry Bostwick ("Megaforce", "Supernatural") and Karen Black ("The Hunger", "House of a 1,000 Corpses"). Fallon's short film The "Red Hours" will screen prior to the feature.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Brush With Death (2007)

Even though horror movies often trade in stories that are rather far fetched, and highly impropable, most of them DO have some sort of logic and sense behind them... while others lack both...

Five college girls are on vacation at the posh mansion of one of their uncles, when they run into Caleb and Rankin- two handsome young men that live in town.  Soon after meeting them, the girls start to disappear one by one...

What I just wrote above sounds interesting and has potential, right?  Well, the reality of its execution in "A Brush With Death" was the opposite.

Let's start with the characters.  Five young women- two of which, I would consider hot (possibly three).  They're not very likable.  They're kinda snotty, whiney, and well, skanky.  Only two of them show any redeeming value... but even that's not enough to make me care about whether they live or die.  They all do look in bikinis though.  Caleb is somewhat likeable, but dull and not very engaging when it comes to caring about him.  Rankin seems like a cool dude- at first, but even then, you can tell he's a bit of a douchebag.  The creepy gas station owner? Ugh... but then again, you're not supposed to like him at least.  Ultimately, I simply didn't care about the people on the screen... in fact, I wanted to see them die.

Which brings us to the story- and the kills.  The story is rather disjointed in its telling.  The director tries to be clever by throwing in some flashbacks, a warped fantasy scene, and a precognitive dream sequence.  All it did was fill in time in between kills.  And speaking of kills, I was really bloody disappointed in them.  Just as you're about to see some possible grue, the camera would cut to black- or a shot of some blood splashing on the wall.  Not a cool tease at all.

There was some decent camera work though- most notably during the opening credits (I really liked the font they used for the text), the bikini pool party scene, and the rather steamy, but warped sex fantasy scene.  If I had to give an opinion, I'd have to say that the director has shot either porn, or bikini videos in their past with the way he lovingly caressed wet bikini clad buttocks with the camera.  Beyond those particular scenes, the camera work is rather amateurish and basic.

"A Brush With Death" is definately one movie that I won't be watching again any time soon, and I'm placing it in "The Ugly".

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Site Update- 05 Feb 2012


Life is full of changes and growth.  That goes for websites as well.  Last month, I posted a poll about whether or not I should have seperate pages for my book, game and movie reviews.  The majority of those that responded said, "Yes".  So I made some changes.

What used to be "The Crypt"- where I listed ALL of my reviews, is now broken down into three seperate pages:

  • Theatre Morte-  This is where you'll be able to find all of my movie reviews.  They're all alphabetical, so you can quickly find the movie you're looking for.  From this page, you can quickly find out my Terror Scale rating for them, and access the review for the particular title you're interested in.
  •  Dark Tomes- This is the page where I'll be listing the books I've reviewed.  As with "Theatre Morte", you'll find the rating and link to the review in addition to the name of the author.
  •  Arcade Morbid-  Same as the other two pages, but listing the games I've reviewed.
I also added a "Search This Blog" widget just above the "Film Reviews From the Basement" podcast player in case you're looking for something other than a title- say, films starring Bela Lugosi.

So, those are the changes I've made so far.  I do intend to make a few more changes to enhance the functionality of the blog- as well as the look.  Such things are:

  • Menu Bar- I want to make the Menu Bar listing the pages a bit easier to use.  I want to place "Theatre Morte, "Dark Tomes," and "Arcade Morbid" in a  drop down menu- under the old, "The Crypt" title.
  •  Graphics- I haven't been able to focus much on the graphical aspect of the blog due to constant problems with my computer- and having to constantly reinstall my Photoshop.  I'd like to do a bit of a redesign on the banner at the top- possibly incorporating a logo of some sort.  I also want to update the graphics I have seperating my various widgets too.  In addition, I want to design an appropriate background that fits in with the rest of the blog.
 Well, that's it so far.  As time goes by, these changes will occur- and hopefully make this blog a bit more enjoyable and accessible for readers.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Dark Fall: The Journal (2002)

Up until 2002, I had been more interested in Real-Time Strategy games- like "WarCraft" and "Command & Conqueor: Red Alert", and Turn-Based Strategy games like "Civilization".  That changed when Jay (from "Film Reviews From the Basement") lent me a simple Point & Click Adventure game called, "Dark Fall: The Journal"...

After receiving a cryptic message from your brother on your answering machine, you head to Dorset to investigate.  Upon arrival at the abandoned train station your brother was preparing to renovate, you discover that he's gone missing... just one in a long list of strange disappearances that have occured over the years...

"Dark Fall: The Journal" is a very basic, Point & Click Adventure game that relies on a good story and mood.  The graphics are not top of the line for the time- but still effective at adding a great, eerie atmosphere.  This is only enhanced by some of the scripted moments.  One in particular still gives me chills.  It's when you're in a hallway, and the lights start going out from one end of the hall, heading towards you.  When you're alone in a darkened room, this is quite effective.  The sound quality isn't great, but had potential.

I really liked the way the story is revealed as you go along.  There are newspaper clippings, journal entries, etc that you can read.  There is even a phone you can use to hear a ghostly voice pleading for help.  You also gain some equiptment that will help you investigate the station and expose more the story.  If you're not into exploring and spending your time reading every little piece of paper that you find, then you can always forgo that.

If you're not into solving puzzles, then you may not want to play this game.  It is fairly puzzle heavy, and many of them could be rather obscure though interesting none the less.  I would've preferred a more balanced use of the puzzles- and used ones that were fairly commonly known.  It would've been great if the puzzles themselves actually had something to do with the story in order to add even more depth to the gameplay.  It felt like I was being taken out of the game from time to time just to solve the puzzles, as some of them didn't fit in with the rest of the game.

In the final analysis, I have to say that despite it's flaws, I really quite enjoyed, "Dark Fall: The Journal," and it was effective at introducing me to the Point & Click game genre.  I'm going to put this game in "The Good".