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Monday, April 30, 2012

ZombieTees.net

 One of the things I want to do with this site is present people with interesting horror themed sites.  It was a piece of good fortune that a little while ago, I was approached by @ZombieTees on Twitter, and asked to have a look at their website and possibly do a write-up.

Since websites are constantly changing, updating, and evolving, I really can't assign a "Good, Bad, Ugly" sort of rating.  All I can do is write about what my initial impression of the site is like, and offer some possibly ideas that might help them attract a larger group of people.

With that in mind, here we go...

ZombieTees.net is a horror themed business site.  They offer T-shirts, mugs, mouse pads, hats, and baby clothes- all with mostly zombie themed artwork on them.

If Sheldon Cooper from "Big Bang Theory" was into horror, these would be the sorts of T-shirts he'd wear.  They average about $21.00 (US), and come in sizes from Medium to XXX-Large.  Decently priced, and able to accomondate a nice range of body types.  The artwork on the T-shirts are in different styles- from looking almost as if they were done by a classic "Tales From the Crypt" artist from the days of EC Comics, through a more Saturday Morning Cartoon style, through something you'd expect to see displayed in a tattoo parlour, to a more photographic style.  Basically, a variety of art styles to suit various personalities and tastes.  My personal favorite is an "Tales From the Crypt" style zombie coming out of his grave on a black T-shirt.

The mugs are about $14.00 (US), and currently consists of five different designs you can choose from.  The designs include a graphic, with a slogan.  The website, show the designs on white mugs, but I hope they're available in black mugs too... or green even would be cool.  Of the five designs, I really like the Biohazard Zombie Contamination mug.

ZombieTees.net also offers mouse pods. They're priced about $10.00 (US), and use mostly designs that appear on their T-shirts- though there are a couple of patterns that aren't currently offered on their shirts.  The white skull on the black background, and a grey splatter overlay is nice.

They site does have a page for caps- but nothing offered at this time.  I'll be looking forward to seeing what designs and styles they decide to offer.  I think the usual baseball caps for summer, and toques for winter would be good.

Now, you normally wouldn't expect a horror themed site to offer baby clothes... but the horror community has enough of a sense of humour to do so.  Priced about $15.00 (US), and available in sizes from three to 18 months, the designs are simple, but quite cute.  Of the six designs currently displayed for sale, I found the "I'm a zombie baby, cute- but deadly!" one made me smile and go, "that's adorable".

Okay- so that's the merchandise they have on display.  Their stock is limited at present, but I'm impressed with what I've seen so far- and I'm looking forward to seeing what they add to their stock.

Now, for the website it self.  I love the logo design (shown at the top of this article).  I also like the fairly simple layout of the site as well.  The navigation menu is straight forward and simple to navigate.  The illustrations on their gallery pages illustrate nicely how their artwork looks on the various shirt colours they offer.  I also like the fact that the "model" shots of the shirts being worn show normal, everyday people, rather than "beautiful" people.  Made me feel more comfortable, knowing that people like myself can actually look good in the shirts.

In general, the mechanics and layout of the site is good, and I had little problem with it.  Visually, though, I did have a couple of minor problems.

When you first load the site, there's this large, bright green background, with the majority of the actual site information on a fairly narrow band of black down the middle.  They might be able to organize the information on the page a bit more by expanding the central part to take up most of the screen.  This could also help them limit the amount of scrolling on their pages.

Another small problem is the main font they use- "Papyrus."  Many consider this font to be almost as overused as Comic Sans- and will cause many designers to cringe.  My problem isn't in it being overused in general, but rather the thinness of the characters can make it hard to read for some people- especially as the smaller sizes.

The only MAJOR problem I actually had (other than the large amount of green in the background), was the small font used for the navigation menu.  I had a really hard time reading it.  If anything, the navigation menu is one of the most important parts of a website, so I would recommend that they increase the size of the font, or designing a decent sized graphical menu that draws the eye, while being easy to use.

Having said this, the site is fairly new- about a year old, so we can expect them to iron out some of these sort of concerns that visitors have to the site.  Other than these few things, I liked the site, and I'm rather interested in seeing how it grows in the future.  I'd recommend checking ZombieTees.net out.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Bloody Wednesday (1988)

Every once in awhile, I find a movie that is hard to classify because I'm not all together sure HOW I feel about it.  Such was the case with this past week's "What Movie Wednesday" winner, "Bloody Wednesday"...

After being released from a mental institution, Harry finds himself unwanted and alone in an abandoned hotel with a gang of punks and a ghostly bellhop.  Soon, Harry is questioning what's real... and what he's going to do about it...

"Bloody Wednesday" is a strangely fascinating movie.  Based very loosely on the San Ysidro McDonald's massacre of 1984, this movie follows a mentally unstable man as he moves towards committing a mass shooting at a coffee shop.  You know it's coming from the fact that they show the aftermath at the beginning of the movie, making you interested in the path taken to that point.

Despite being inspired by true events, the overall storyline is a little silly.  I highly doubt that an accountant would be allowed to let his mentally unstable brother stay alone in an abandoned hotel... or that a psychiatrist would be so kind as to let a patient into their home... especially after the patient confesses to having been there before- albeit in a fantasy.  Even though the basic story is a silly, there are some really good moments in this movie.

I think- for me at least, the fascination this movie creates is from the blurring of reality and hallucination.   Hallucinatory scenes blend and even reflect reality in interesting ways.  Three in particular stand out.  In one scene, Harry captures the punks at gunpoint, and has his teddy bear act as judge.  We, the audience can hear the teddy bear speaking, while one of the punks makes it clear that they can't hear anything.  In another scene, when Harry is again talking to his teddy bear, his brother- outside the door, swears that he heard someone responding to Harry.  In yet another scene, Harry kills his wife who comes to visit.  Afterwards, his brother arrives asking if she'd arrived yet since he asked her to come over.  When he goes into the room where the wife's dead body should be, she's gone.

There's also the nature of the bellhop.  Is he really a ghost- as he seems to indicate... or just a hallucination?  You could go either way on it in fact- which actually makes the movie more fascinating to me.

The acting is rather typical of the 1980's- a little over the top.  Despite this... and possibly because of it, the movie is given an even more unreal feel.  Raymond Elmedorf as Harry brings a really off kilter feel to his character- at times child-like, and dangerous at others.  He also brings some excellent examples of "crazy eyes" to the movie as well.  Pamela Baker's character, Dr. Johnson, is about the most "normal" one... but even then, I got the feeling she had emotional issues of her own.  Ben, played by Navarre Perry, wasn't too bad... a bit of a dick- but sympathetic.  All of the actors, were able to bring some interesting things to their characters that actually helped pull me into this movie.

The camera work isn't anything special- but was still quite effective at warping our perception of the world Harry lives in.  The pacing and editing was quite good, and created a really good feel to the movie.

This is one of those movies that by most criteria, should fall within "The Ugly"... but because it kept me fascinated by the strangeness and uncertainty of everything, I'm going to have to recommended it to people for at least one viewing- though I'm inclined to possibly watch it a couple of times a year.  "Bloody Wednesday" has earned a spot in "The Good."

Special Shoutout:

I want to thank everyone that participated in my "What Movie Wednesday" feature.  I'll be doing it again March 2nd.

Big thank you to the following people who voted for "Bloody Wednesday":


  • Zoey Emily Onyx ;
  • Bobbie-Jo Kampff;
  • Leona Biron-Coulter;
  • David Mosher;
  • Marchelle Bates;
  • Ricky Russel;
  • Jason Wiggins; and
  • Pam Jones-Stewart

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Goblin (2010)


Sometimes, while surfing through channels, you find a horror movie that makes you stop and go, "Hmmm... I think I'll watch this one..."  It makes you curious about what it's about, and whether it's any good.  Such was the state of things while watching TV with my Sister-in-Law... and "Goblin"...

Neil and his family have arrived at a small town hoping to start a new business and a new life.  Soon however, they realize that something's wrong with the town... and that something wants Neil's newborn son...

"Goblin" is a Syfy Channel made for TV movie that was filmed in the forests surrounding Pitt Meadows, British Columbia- which made it of interest to me, living in British Columbia myself.  From the title alone, I could tell that it was going to be a B-movie- and I wasn't disappointed.

For a B-movie, this one was entertaining and fun to watch.  The premise was actually interesting, with some decent plot points that made you think that the movie could go one of two ways.  I wanted to know more about the town, and the backstory leading up to the events presented.  The actual plot beyond the premise is average and normal a B-movie (especially a made for TV one), but was solid enough to develop some decent characters, kills, and humour.

While the teen characters are somewhat cliched, the core ones are interesting, likable, and believable.  The main teen girls- Tracy Spiridakos as Nikki, and Erin Boyes as her friend Cammy were enjoyable to watch.  I could see them being friends, and felt that they made a good team, with Boyes' humour balancing the more serious nature of Spiridakos' character.  Gil Bellows as the father, Neil was quite good too, and the chemistry he had with Camille Sullivan- who plays his wife, Kate made their scenes together above average for a movie of this type.  I also really enjoyed Charlie, who was played by Donnelly Rhodes.  The character was a little cliched, but still fun and quite likable.  His best scene is when he's talking to Bea (played by Chilton Crane) in the diner about "doing right".

Just below these actors, I felt that Andrew Wheeler and Chilton Crane as Sheriff Migreen and his wife, Bea were good and interesting.  Their characters were unique, and provided ample material for to contribute to the story.   Of the two, the Sheriff was the character that had the most depth, and Wheeler did a pretty good job in the role.

The teen boys, played by Reilly Dolman and Brett Dier- were, unfortunately, rather cliched, though the actors put forward a good effort to make them interesting.  The actors just weren't given alot of material to work with, as their characters were more or less monster bait.  I will admit that I was pleasantly surprised to have my expectations for Dolman's character, Kyle, pulled out from under me.  It's nice when a movie can surprise you in regards to the characters.

The only actor I had a hard time with was Colin Cunningham as Owen.  The character was cliched, and the acting was too.  During his scenes, I thought I smelt bacon because of the haminess.

As can be expected from a low budget TV movie, the camera work is fairly routine- though there are some great pieces spread throughout.  The editing and filming of the opening scenes was really well done, and I also really liked the scene at the convenience store with the two old female shop keepers. 

I was actually quite pleased and impress by the special effects for the kills.  There isn't a lot of blood splashed around, but you get to see some nice gouges, and innards spread on the ground.  A great example is when Neil finds Cammy's body... or at least half of it.  I was quite satisfied with the grue factor in this movie.

I do, however some some qualms with the goblin itself.  For most of the movie, it's in a black cloak- which look good.  The problem comes when it's face is shown.  It's CGI- and you can tell it's CGI.  I can understand using CGI for the climatic scene when it's cloak has been destroyed, but up until then, I think make-up would've sufficed... and possibly seemed more realistic.  It was a nice design and look- but as I said, it was rather obvious that it was CG, and didn't mesh well with the film.

Despite some flaws, I can honestly say that "Goblin" is a TV B-movie that I would definately recommend watching at least once, as it is fun and entertaining... provided you enjoy b-movies.  I wasn't expecting much, and was pleasantly surprised. I'm putting this movie in "The Bad"

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Night Fright (1967)


Sometimes, a horror movie's title fits the movie, while sometimes, they don't.  Such is the case of "Night Fright"...

Shortly after a flaming object is sighted crashing near a small Texas town, a teen couple are brutally killed.  Soon the local Sheriff, and a group of partying teens are being stalked and killed through the deep woods as they try to discover who or what the killer is...

When I hear a title like, "Night Fright," I tend to think of ghosts and demons terrorizing innocent people in the middle of the night... or of late night TV shows airing old B-movies.  This movie would certainly qualify to be shown during such a show.

In fact, judging from the opening credits, and musical scoring, I would say that "Night Fright" was actually a made for TV Movie- and a cheesy one to boot.

Which probably made it a perfect choice for winner of this weeks, "What Movie Wednesday" installment, as it won the poll with a total of five votes.

Even though it's pretty cheesy, there are some positives to it.  This came mostly in the form of John Agar as Sheriff Clint Crawford.  He looked like a tough, no nonsense Sheriff that was compassionate and honest at the same time.  He looked heroic, authoritative, and strong, yet approachable and open at the same time.  Agar's acting went well with the character.  Of the characters (and the acting), he seemed the most believable of the lot.  His character was also the most unique of them as well- the others came off a bit cliched... especially Frank Jolly's rebellious, bully Rex Bowers.  When he was on the screen, I found myself being distracted by his rather odd shaped hair.

Carol Gilley as Crawford's girlfriend, Nurse Joan Scott looked pretty good, and what little acting she did offered potential for more depth to her character's relationship with the Sheriff.  I was especially taken by how nice her eyes looked in her close-ups- they really drew me in and kept my attention.  Nicely expressive in my opinion.  I also thought that Bill Thurman did a fairly decent job as Deputy Ben Whitfield, even if it was the usual pudgy but loyal Deputy role he was playing.

Jolly's Bowers character was cringe inducing.  The acting was effective at making you dislike him enough to want him to be nommed on by the creature in the forest.  Beyond that, it was rather flat.  Roger Ready as Professor Alan Clayton was a bit better, though not much- but that could be due to his not really being in the movie much, except to deliver a couple of major plot points.

The two heroic teens- Chris and Judy, who were played by Ralph Baker, Jr. and Dorothy Davis, was about what you'd expect from a low budget, cheesy B-movie like this one, but did show potential for professional growth.  I would be interested to see if they have any later films to see if they improved.

The story is pretty simple, and is told fairly well withing the 75 minutes or so of the movie.  The plot development and the length of the movie is another thing that makes me believe this was a made for TV movie.  The basic "it came from space and is killing people" premise has been done better by other B-movies such as "The Blob"

I actually liked the camera work.  Much of it gave me a "Night of the Living Dead" (1968) sort of feeling.  The scene of the newspaper reporting searching the wood for clues after the first deaths are found especially reminded me of "Night of the Living Dead."  While there are some editing flaws, my only real complaint on the visuals is the film quality.  It would've been nice if the people who included it in the box set I bought had digitally remastered it and cleaned it up a bit.  The quality made it hard to see some of the shots taken at night.  One scene of interest in regards to editing is the party/Deputy death scene.  They way shots of the teens partying and dancing, cut with shots of Deputy Whitfield being attacked was good in my opinion.

"What about the creature?" you ask?  Well, I was a little disappointed in that, truth be told.  The first traces of the creature indicated that it had alligator type qualities as it had left alligator type footprints.  I was kinda hoping for a gator-man, but got a ape suit with a Klingon forehead.  Not only that, the film quality made it hard to make out any decent detail on the creature.  I seemed mostly just black fur.  I also would've liked to have seen a bit more of the kills, but the only grue we get is couple of shots of the Deputy's face with dribbles of blood on it.  Not much of a pay-off, sad to say.

While, ultimately, I was disappointed in "Night Fright" over all, there are some positives in this movie.  I would recommend it for a B-movie night party, as I found it fun to poke fun at the movie while doing my "What Movie Wednesday" tweet-along to it... and I'm sure those that followed were equally entertained.  It's worth a single viewing... but nothing beyond that.  I'm place it in "The Bad"

Special Shoutout:

I want to thank everyone that participated in my "What Movie Wednesday" feature.  I'll be doing it again April 25th.

Big thank you to the following people who voted for "Night Fright":

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ghost Master (2003)


Haven't you ever wanted to be the villian in a game?  I know I have.  Luckily, there are games out there that let you be good or bad... or just bad to the bone...

You are the Ghost Master.  Your job is to use "field ghosts" to scare mortals out of their wits ultimately taking the Ghostbreakers who want to send you back to the ether...

"Ghost Master" is a Real Time Strategy game that puts you in control of ghosts that can be used to haunt a location, and cause the mortals on site to flee... or go insane.  You start out small- scaring college students, and work your way up to wreaking havoc in a mad scientist's laboratory.

To do this, you can assign various ghosts to the case, and use their abilities to scare the mortals and free trapped spirits.  Each ghost has different abilities that create different effects within the game.  You are limited on the number of ghosts you can assign each mission, so you have to think strategically about which ones you want to use and where.  Like any strategy game, you have to manage your resources as well- this is called, "plasm".  Plasm allows your ghosts to use their abilities, and is gained by scaring mortals.

The game mechanics are very simple, making it quiet easy for a casual gamer to start playing.  The interface is pretty basic, and relies more on you click on your ghosts for menu options.

The graphics aren't bad, and remind me a bit of "The Sims".  The visual effects of the ghosts are interesting, though only for a limited time of repeated use.

The story is pretty basic... so basic, it's almost non-existant.  Because of this, the levels got rather repetitive, and my focus often wandered.  There are some nice humourous references to various horror movies in the titles of the levels, but they were only worth a quick chuckle.

Some of the puzzles you need to solve to accomplish your missions can be rather frustrating.  On one level, you have to cast an "illusionary gift" and pretty much wait for someone to carry it to where it needs to go.  More often than not, it would be picked up and carried around endlessly.  Of course, I had to wonder why a person would pick up a mysterious gift wrapped box in the middle of a full-blown poltergeist fit in the first place.

This game is fun for the first couple of levels, but the repetitive nature of the levels, the lack of any real story, and frustrating "puzzles" can suck the life from this game quickly.  I'm going to have to put "Ghost Master" in "The Ugly".

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly...


Over the course of the past year or so, I have been asked by a few people a couple of simple questions:

  1. How do you determine what rating to give a movie, etc? and
  2. What makes you think that you're right about your rating?
I'd like to take this time to answer these two questions.

First, a quick and concise description of how I determine a movie's rating:

  •  The Good: This a book, movie, or game that manages to fully engage my attention and suspension of disbelief. In a book or movie of this calibre, I tend to come to care about the characters and what happens to them. The story is unique, interesting, and well paced- with a style that actually manages to flip my emotional switches as it goes along. A book or movie that, when finished, make me want to sit down and experience it again.
  • The Bad: This is a book, movie, or game that is hit and miss when it comes to engaging my attention and making me slip into the world described within. In a book or movie of this calibre, I tend to care about one or two of the characters- though not necessarily whether they live or die. The story is not totally unique, but has some points of original content, and isn't as smooth as I would like. It's a book or movie where my attention might wander from time to time, but can get me back on track. A book or movie that, when finished, I could possibly sit through again a year or so down the road.
  • The Ugly: This a book, movie, or game that fails to engage my attention or my imagination. In a book of this calibre, I tend to feel apathetic- or even disdain for the characters involved to the point where I kinda wish they die. The story is a badly done copy of another author's work, with no original content of its own. It's a book where I could go days between sittings to read it, or if a movie- turn the movie off.  A book or movie that, when finished, I'd never sit through again.
The answer to the second question is much more subjective:  I'm only "right" so far that I feel confident standing by my opinion of the movie, and my decision.  The crux of it is that it's simply my opinion.  I can only go on how a movie or book makes me feel during the experience, and afterwards.  To be perfectly honest, being "right" when reviewing a movie or book is an illusion, because an opposing view held by another reviewer is just as equally valid and "right".  A good example is the movie, "The Postman" with Kevin Costner.  I enjoyed that movie, while my friend, Jay (from "We Came From the Basement") hated it.


All I can do, when reviewing a movie, is to let the reader know how I felt, and what I think of the movie.  I try to refrain from writing as if I know what movies people will like, and not like.  I'm not that presumptuous or pretensious.  I simply write my thoughts and opinions, and let the readers agree or disagree.


If you agree, or disagree with me on any of my reviews- and wish to discuss the differences in opinion, I'm always willing to do so.  Contact me at cornerofterror@hotmail.ca!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Skeleton Man (2004)

When it comes to my "What Movie Wednesday" sessions, I approach them with anticipation and wry amusement.  Anticipation because I never know what sort of movie the voters will have me watch.  Wry amusement because sometimes, I think the voters are hoping I get a bit of a turkey... just to see what sort of comments I'll make on Twitter while watching it...

 After a group of soldiers disappear during a training exercise, a crack Delta Force team is sent in to find out what happened.  Soon however, the team discovers that whatever killed the soldiers is now stalking them... and killing them one by one...

To be fair, this movie is flawed, but I had fun watching it- though I'm not sure it's the sort of fun that was intended by the film makers.

The story is basic and simple- as are the characters.  Both are very much in the style of the original "Predator" movie... but with less excitement and a not as scary villian.  Neither story nor characters are very deep, but I did enjoy watching the characters as they shoot, die and spout classic 80's style dialogue... It made me smile.

The acting (like the actual story and characters) is very B-movie level- but that was okay as far as I was concerned, because it was enjoyable B-movie quality in that it entertained me and kept me from thinking about the possibility that Reality is really just a result of biochemicals pulsing around in my brain.  The actors that stood out for me were Paul Sampson as Nathan, Michael Rooker as Captain Leary, and Sarah Ann Schultz as Lieutenant Scott.  These three had some decent dialogue and moments that tried to add depth to the movie and their characters, but still didn't bring the quality of the movie up.  Still, I did enjoy them.  I also have to mention Robert Milan as the "Blind Indian"- he provided, what I think is one of the most awesome movie lines ever:  "You got beans?  Beans are good.  Heat them up.  Good to go."  Loved it!

The visuals for this movie were a little hit and miss in some regards.  The look of the Delta Force team for instance.  They looked more like hikers than soldiers- especially with backpacks that a college student would use to carry their books.  I had a real hard time believing that they were soldiers.  As appealing to the eyes as the female performers were, I kinda got the feeling they were there simply for their looks (especially since only one of them got any real serious screen time before dying).  And when they donned their camoflauge face paint,  I shook my head because pretty much right after, it looked like they hadn't put any one- though the montage sequence of them doing it was well done.

The backpacks really bothered me, actually.  As a former soldier myself, I know how much stuff gets carried around in the field- even for just an overnight excursion.  Ammo, food, sleeping gear, clean socks, first aid bandages, cooking gear, pyrotechnics, toilet paper, etc... and I can tell you that a college student backpack wouldn't be able to carry all that... let alone the Vietnam era webbing donned later, weapons, ammo, GPS, range finder, rifle scopes, food... and the parts for the huge arsed land mine Lt. Leary constructs.  I TRIED to suspend my logic on that.  I TRIED to think of it in 1980's action movie terms... but I had a hard time doing so.

I also had some problems with the look of the killer- Cottonmouth Joe.  The skull actually looked pretty good, but the effect was brought down by the cloak.  In the close up shots of him riding his horse (which kept changing colours) the cloaked looked cool- all tattered and creepy.  But in the full body shots, it looked brand new, and jarred a bit.

There is some decent camera work though, some of the scenes are shot really well and seemed quite professional- I was impressed.  Other shots seemed to show a lack of experience and/or talent.  The POV shots tried to give us the feeling of "Predator," but didn't quite pull it off.  The worst aspect though, was the use of CGI in the opening credits, and the teleporting of Cottonmouth Joe.  They weren't done very well, and struck me as being rather unnecessary.  Doing a fade out/fade in sort of effect for the teleporting probably would've been cheaper and more effective in my opinion.

There ARE some decent kills (and a decent number of kills too) in this movie though.  The opening scene was really good, as well as a few of the ones at the chemical plant near the end.  I felt those scene were very well done, even though the grue is kept to a minimum.  As good as they were, they were still B-movie level... though I really did enjoy them.  The only "problem" is how the chemical plant scene actually fits in with the rest of the movie.  I'm not altogether sure that if I was stalking a group of soldiers to kill them one by one, I'd take time out to wipe out the staff of a facility that had nothing to do with the rest of my victims so far.  Just saying.

Given all of this, "Skeleton Man" is an interesting example of a 1980's style B-movie.  While it's more action oriented than horror, it's still interesting.  Definately worth at least one viewing... and possibly two if it's part of a B-movie night.  I'm placing this movie in 'The Bad".

Special Shoutout:

I want to thank everyone that participated in my "What Movie Wednesday" feature.  I'll be doing it again April 18th.

Big thank you to the following people who voted for "Skeleton Man":

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981)


A couple of months ago, I sat down and watch the "Omen" series of movies.  Since then, I've reviewed, the 1976 & 2006 releases of the first movie, as well as 1978's "Damien: Omen II".  This month, I'll be reviewing "Omen III: The Final Conflict".

Damien Thorn is grown up and appointed as the US Ambassador to Great Britian.  When an astronomical alignment occurs, Thorn realizes the time of The Second Coming is upon him, and he puts plans into operation to prevent it from happening.  Soon, Thorn and a group of priests are in a confrontation that will lead to mankind's destiny resting in the balance...

"Omen III: The Final Conflict" isn't  a bad movie.  I wouldn't say that it's a classic, but there are some things that I really liked.

The story is fairly solid, and well paced.  It gives all the characters a chance to be developed, and play a significant role in the events taking place.  Very few of the characters are filler.  Damien, Harvey Dean, Kate Reynolds and Father DeCarol all well formed, unique characters that were quite believable as people.  The only flaw to it is that it's not the rapid, in your face sort of story that appeals to much of the mainstream theatre audience these days.

The acting was good- with Sam Neil doing a terrific job as Damien.  He looked great in the role, and brought such charm and evil to the character.  Lisa Harrow as Reynolds was good as well- her portrayal of her character helped to make me care about what happened to her.

The camera work is plain and simple, but quite effective at times.  Like the story though, the camera edits are slower paced than what you'd find in most of the movies produced lately.

My most serious problem with this movie was the portrayal of The Second Coming at the end.  I was disappointed that they used a rather stereotypical image of Christ, rather than something a little more orignal.  I felt that they had simply taken his image from a painting and used that.  I also felt that the Scripture text at the end was unnecessary as well, and gave the movie a bit of a preachy overtone, which turned me off a little.

While I DID enjoy watching "Omen III: The Final Conflict," the ending and its execution causes me to put it in "The Bad".

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Moon of the Wolf (1972)

I think I've said this before, but one of the things I enjoy about my ongoing "What Movie Wednesday" feature is that I never quite know what to expect from the movies chosen to be a part of it.  "Moon of the Wolf" is no exception...

Marsh Island has fallen victim to a brutal killing.  While the residents prepare to hunt down the wild dogs they think killed a young women, evidence discovered by the local Sheriff lead him to believe that it was a man that commited the horrible crime.  Soon, he and an old crush will discover that the killer is much more than an animal... or a man...

The 1970's was an era when made for TV movies became the rage.  "Moon of the Wolf"- which is actually based on a novel by Leslie H. Whitten), is one such movie- and has all the limitations of them as well.

The premise and story isn't the most original, and could be seen as rather simplistic- but when you think about it, most made for TV movies fit that description.  It had to be hard to script it so that you could include commercial breaks.  Besides, screenplays tend to lack the depth and complexity of the original novels to begin with, I've found.  I would be interested in finding the book to read and compare them.

The characters, while not necessarily great, are still watchable.  I enjoyed Sheriff Aaron Whitaker and his interactions with the other characters.  He had a subtle, caustic wit about him that I liked.  Louise Rodanthe- the Sheriff's old crush, wasn't a bad character either, and went well with the Sheriff's.  I had some problem with the character of Andrew Rodanthe, who was Louise's brother.  For a character that winds up playing a vital part in the story, he wasn't very well developed... and I could see the role he would play as soon as I saw him.  This kinda made me apathetic towards him in the end.  The other characters were interesting as well, and I found myself wanting to know more about a couple of them- which is a good thing.

The acting, while entertaining, was typical of the 1970's, and doesn't really stand the test of time.  The only actors that really stood out for me were Geoffry Lewis as Lawrence- the dead girl's brother, and Paul R. DeVille as Lawrence's father, Hugh.  The two of them were great.  I'd seen Lewis in several other TV movies, and always enjoyed his performances.  His eyes are always just so much a part of his characters, it's amazing.  In this movie, he gives a great example of "crazy eyes" that I enjoyed.  DeVille was just fantastic as the bed-ridden father muttering French phrases and ranting as he stared off into nothing.

Other than the final scene, there isn't much blood shown- which is to be expected, given the nature of television censorship back in the 1970's.  I was also a little disappointed in the make-up for the werewolf.  For me, it was too much of a throwback to the wolfman make-up made famous by the Universial Studios movie, "The Wolfman."  It needed to look a bit more wolfish and mangy.  I was turned off by how neat and tidy the werewolf's hair was... and how nice his clothes continued to look.  It was more laughable than scary to me.

I've seen some really good made for TV movies over the years, but I'm going to have to say that "Moon of the Wolf" isn't one of the better ones.  Having said that, I might be convinced to watch it as part of a werewolf marathon... but not likely.  I'm going to place this movie in "The Ugly".

Special Shoutout:

I want to thank everyone that participated in my "What Movie Wednesday" feature.  I'll be doing it again April 11th.

Big thank you to the following people who voted for "Moon of the Wolf":