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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Room 33 (2009)

Abandoned facilities such as mental institutions are an often used location in horror films.  It wasn't much different with the recent "What Movie Wednesday" winner, "Room 33".

When their vehicle runs out of gas, a female roller derby team, and the couple they offered a ride to are forced to take shelter for the night in an abandoned mental institution.  They soon meet Roxy- a scared teenager with a mysterious connection to the facility... and the killer that is now stalking them from the shadows...

The premise, while not what one could call "original" these days is still one that promises potential.  The actual story used, however is pretty shallow and amounts to tedious repetition of characters being scared, concerned for Roxy, being bitchy and being killed.  There is very little in the way of emotionally engaging moments... or scares even.  The opportunities to explore the reasons for what was happening were wasted- rather than clear things up, they only confused things more.

"Room 33" isn't helped by the rather banal and shallow characters.  We've seen them all before:
  • The Pretty Boy
  • The Nice College Girl
  • The Slut
  • The Bitch
  • The Hot Foreign Girl
  • The Scared Girl
  • The Chubby Tech Guy
  • The Scared Black Guy
This movie does very little with them in terms of real character development.  Of the characters, the ONLY ones I liked were Nelson (the black guy), and Stewart (the tech guy).  I liked Nelson, especially, because he was pretty much the only one of them that seemed to realise they were in a horror movie.  But as much as I liked Nelson, I really didn`t feel anything when he died.  The worst character was Sarah- the "bitch" character.  She was just not likable at all in any way.  She was just a bitch.  She insulted everyone, gave a blow job to the "pretty boy" who her team mate was interested in... AFTER caving in the aforementioned team mate's head with a bat.  Tries to use the blow job to cause a rift between the "pretty boy" and the "college girl" (and is pissed when it doesn't work), threatens to kill the "scared girl" multiple times- and even vows to kill her again as revenge for her team mate's head being caved in.  Not one redeemable quality in that skag.  Not even the scene whowing off her fishnet clad butt was enough to make me go, "Oh, she's not so bad."  I wanted her to die in the most horrible, grisly, messy fashion possible.

The acting wasn`t great- in fact, I was at times wishing that it was the actors dying and not the characters.

There are a couple of decent pieces of camera work- but nothing that really hasn`t been seen before and stands out as a "OMG!  That's so cool!" piece of work.  In fact, I was not only disappointed, but I was quite pissed at the lack of grue in the kills.  First off, you don't SEE anything happen due to a fast cut away.  When you see the body, there's a bit of blood, and gooey tissue- but not enough to satisfy most horror fans.  This especially angered me because I was so looking forward to see the character of Sarah die.  But, when her time comes... there's just a quick shot of the killer's fingers in her eyes, and then she's on the floor.  Given the character's attitude throughout the movie, I felt cheated by that pay off.  It was a fucking cheap thing to do.

I do not recommend this "What Movie Wednesday" winner for watching.  At all.  Avoid it.  If I had a category worse than The Ugly, "Room 33" would be in it.

Special Shout Out:

I'd like to thank everyone who voted in this week's "What Movie Wednesday"- especially those that voted for "Room 33":

Leona Biron-Coulter
Tanya Marie
Ricky Russell
Jason Wiggins
Shiro Seirei Kitsuna

The next "What Movie Wednesday" will be 07 March 2013.

Join me Thursday nights on Twitter @camethebasement at 10:00 pm (PST) when I tweet along to their radio show!

ALSO, join me Friday nights @camethebasement at 7:00 pm (PST) when I tweet along to a non-horror movies!
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Monday, February 25, 2013

The Werewolf vs Vampire Women (1971)

Two of the creatures of the night that seem to be pitted against each other in horror movies are werewolves and vampires.  This was no different back in the 1970's than it is now...

Elvira and Genevieve are searching for the grave of a medieval murderess and alleged vampiress when they are stuck in the middle of nowhere.  Fortunately, Count Daninsky lives nearby in a secluded castle.  He offers to help them search for the tomb... but only because within it may lay the key to curing of his curse.  It seems the Count is an immortal werewolf...

"The Werewolf vs Vampire Women" (original title, "La Noche de Walpurgis") is a Spanish horror film that helped to create a horror movie boom in Spain.

The premise is actually one that kinda makes me shake my head.  Not because it's stupid or anything- but rather because such pairings tend to lead to a rather silly movie.  And when one stops and examines this movie, it is rather silly... or course, that could be partly because the US version (which I watched as part of "What Movie Wednesday") was heavily cut.  There are some large holes in logic on the part of the Count and the others.

I did find that I liked most of the characters.  The Count is charming and a decent guy under all the fur and wolf slobber, and Genevieve makes a good companion for Elvira.  The Vampiress Wandessa is a decent villianess as well.  The only character I had some problem with was Elvira- the heroine.  It was the sudden turn she took from not trusting the Count to being in love with him overnight.  Bothered me.

The acting was pretty good, though some of the lines the actors had to deliver were a little silly.  Paul Naschy as the Count was quite good.  He was able to bring charm and pathos to his werewolf cursed character.  While I had problems with the character of Elvira, I felt that Gaby Fuchs was not only beautiful as Elvira, but did a passable job in the role.  Also beautiful was Barbara Capell- who played Elvira's friend Genevieve.  Capell brought a nice touch of character to Elvira's best friend, and a really seductive  aura to her vampiress portion... even with the huge ass fangs she had to wear.  I also through that Patty Shepard as the Vampiress Wandessa was superb.  She was beautiful, mysterious, ghostly, and seductive.

The camera work doesn't really stand out as being what I would call exceptional.  They furthest they go with special effects was to slow down the film during the vampiress segments in order to make them seem more etheral and dream-like.  While simple, and standard, it did the job and was effective.  The sets were also rather standard in terms of European horror films of the 1970's.

For a night of vampire and werewolf movies, I wouldn't hesitate to include "The Werewolf vs Vampire Women", but I wouldn't go out of my way to re-watch it.  Because of that, I'm placing it in The Bad.

Special Shout Out:
I would like to thank everyone that voted in this week's "What Movie Wednesday"- especially those that voted for "The Werewolf vs Vampire Women":

Justine's Halloween
Jessica Hewlett
Mary E Thompson
Leona Biron-Coulter

The next "What Movie Wednesday" will be 27 Feb 2013.

Also, join me every Thursday night at 10:00 pm (PST) @camethebasement when I tweet along to their radio show!

ALSO, every Friday night at 7:00 pm (PST), you can find me @camethebasement tweeting along to non-horror movies.
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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Tell-Tale Heart (1960)

One of the perennial favorites when it comes to horror in general is Edgar Allan Poe.  His tales of the macabre and the unusual provide fertile soil for directors and actors when it comes to cultivating the heebie jeebies in people...

Edgar is a quiet, retiring sort of person- much too shy of a person to ask his beautiful neighbour out for a date.  On the advice of his friend Carl, Edgar asks Betty out... only to find out later that the two have started an affair behind his back.  Taking matters into his own hands, he soon discovers that the heartbeat of guilt is a difficult one to stop...

This "What Movie Wednesday" winner (part of last Wednesday's double feature), is a loose adaptation of Poe's famouse short story.  While there are several major differences between this movie and the source material, the spirit and core premise is still there.  For such a simple movie, the story is strong and solid.  Normally, the ending (similar to that of "Point of Terror") would've irritated me- but I didn't mind it with this one.

The acting was fairly good.  Laurence Payne suited the role of Edgar very well.  He looked the part, sounded the part, and acted the part beautifully.  You come to feel for him- even after his horrendous actions.  He also gives a good example of "crazy eyes" that really looked insane.  The beautiful Adrienne Corri played Betty.  She really made you feel that her character was only dating Edgar because she had no other friends.  She looked great with blonde or black hair, too.  Even though Dermot Walsh isn't in the movie much as Carl (he's dead for at least half of it), he still turned in a good performance.  You could tell that his character was trying to be the best friend he could be to Edgar, and was fighting the temptation offered to him by Betty.  His performance really helped to his end a tragic one... and makes you glad when revenge is finally his.

There isn't much to say about the camera work.  It's fairly standard, static fare for the 1960's- but does use light and dark really well to create a suspensful scene.

I'm going to place "The Tell-Tale Heart" in The Good.

Special Shout Out:

I want to thank everyone that voted in this week's "What Movie Wednesday"- especially those that voted for "The Tell-Tale Heart":

Jessica Hewlett
Mathew Little (of "The Wayward Tarheel")
Jason Wiggins

The next "What Movie Wednesday" will take place 20th February 2013!

And don't forget to join me Friday nights at 7:00 pm (PST) on Twitter (@camethebasement) as I tweet along to NON-horror movies!

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Monday, February 18, 2013

The Hatchet Murders (1975)

This past "What Movie Wednesday" was a double feature (something that seems to be rather common here in The Corner), and the first one I'll be reviewing is Dario Argento's "The Hatchet Murders" (originally titled "Profondo Rosso"- "Deep Red").
Marcus is a pianist who becomes a witness to a grisly murder.  Soon, he finds himself following a trail of clues that will lead him to a shocking confrontation with the killer... but may cost him his life.
Dario Argento is well known in the horror community for his movies "Suspiria" (1977) "Opera" (1987), and "Dawn of the Dead" (1979 as producer)- and deservedly so.  His movies tend to have a quality about them that sets them apart from most horror films.
The premise of "The Hatchet Murders" is simple and effective.  The story is well paced, interesting, and engaged my mind nicely.  Not once did I sit there not wanting to see where things were going to go.  I wanted to ses what was going to happen next.  I had a hard time finding a moment in this movie that was wasted, and didn't serve the overall story in some way- either in terms of plot development or character development.
The characters were well crafted, likable, and essential to the story- right from the psychic at the beginning, to Marcu's friend's mother, to the female reporter, to even the little girl witchy girl.  There wasn't a wasted character in this movie.  Even the author and her housekeeper- though in the movie for only a short time served a purpose in moving the story forward.  People weren't introduced just to get killed.
The acting was quite good too.  Macha Meril as the psychic was good- though some might think her scene at the beginning might've been overly theatrical.  David Hemming was well suited for the role of the pianist Marcus, and brought a charm and likability to the character.  I also really enjoyed Glauco Marui in the role of Professor Giordani- the psychic's assistant.  A couple of his scenes are rather theatrical, but still quite well done.  Gabriele Lavia was decent as the drunken Carol, bringing a sense of tragedy to the character in his few appearances on screen.  Daria Nicolodi, who played Gianna the reporter looked good, and added to the mood of the movie by bringing a feeling of possible instability to her role.  A really good job done by all of them.
There is some amazing camera work in "The Hatchet Murders".  From the opening sequence, through the opening credits, to the final confrontation and the end credits we were treated to creative and interesting camera movements, angles and close ups.  I can't really single out any ONE moment that sticks out, because every single one of them adds up to a beautiful masterpiece of cinematic horror storytelling.
Ultimately, this is a movie that I would willingly pull of the shelf on any random day and rewatch- and this one isn't even the original version!  I highly recommend this movie.  I'm placing "The Hatchet Murders" in The Good.
Special Shout Out:

Thanks to everyone that voted in this week's "What Movie Wednesday," especially those that voted for "The Hatchet Murders":

Jay (from "We Came From the Basement")
Jason Wiggins
Shiro Seirei Kitsuna

The next "What Movie Wednesday" will be February 20, 2013!
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Friday, February 8, 2013

"Twisted Sisters" (2006)

Sometimes, I wish I had a twin to take my place at things I don't want to attend- like meetings, lectures, work, etc.  But sometimes, I'm rather glad that I don't have a twin...

Jennifer has a great life: a boyfriend who loves her, a good job, a nice home, and a baby on the way... and she recently discovered that she has an identical twin sister.  Too bad her twin wants to steal Jennifer's identity and life...

"Twisted Sisters" is one of those films that has moments of interest, but is seriously flawed in pretty much everything else.  The premise is okay, but the actual plot has some serious holes in its logic... and characters. Mostly the characters... especially the cops.

I really did not like the cops.  For one thing, considering that Jennifer's boyfriend's dad is a well known Barrister, you'd think the cops would do everything they could to operate within the law.  Unfortunately, these cops don't.  They barge into her apartment without a warrant, and verbally abuse her.  Right off the bat actually, on the word of a bartender they simply assume she's the killer and begin the harassment.  On the word of ONE witness.  Then, when she's in the hospital- having been mistaken for her killer twin and shot, one of the cops talks to her while she's in a coma saying that he'll come back when she's concious... because it's not as fun "fucking an unconcious bitch."

The other characters were just rather flat and dull.  Nothing about them really reached out and grabbed my interest... other than the fact that Fiona Horsey looked good in a mini-skirt.

The acting was pretty standard and average- except for the cops.  Their acting was just horrible and annoying.

The camera work was also pretty standard and insignificant.  There really wasn't anything that stands out in my mind as being cool.  I did like the two main pieces of gore: a guy's innards blasted out by a giant firework, and a pen stuck in some guy's eye.

I'm going to have to give this "What Movie Wednesday" winner, a spot in The Ugly.

Special Shout Out:

Thanks to everyone that voted in this week's "What Movie Wednesday," especially those that voted for "Twisted Sisters":

Leona Biron-Coulter
Jay (from "We Came From the Basement")
Jessica Hewlett
Morgana Phenix
Shiro Seirei Kitsuna

The next "What Movie Wednesday" will be February 14, 2013!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Zombies: The Complete Guide to the World of the Living Dead (Zachary Graves)

Zombies are the big rage right now.  Movies, protests in the form of Zombie Walks, games, and books...

"Zombies: The Complete Guide to the World of the Living Dead" by Zachary Graves explores they history and evolution of zombies- from their Voodoo origins as undead slaves through to the hungry undead rising up due to a virus or other causes.  It covers the myths and superstitions surrounding zombies, as well as real cases of purported voodoo creates zombies.  This book also discuss how movies and books have helped the zombie to evolve into one of our favorite monsters- including a look at Frankentein's monster.

This book isn't very long, but is full of interesting information and is a great starting point for zombie afficionados, who wish to learn more about this genre of monster mythology.  It's logically broken down into sections that are laid out in an easy to read and digest fashion.  While far from being a truly "complete" guide to zombies, it is still an entertaining read.

I'm going to place "Zombies: The Complete Guide to the World of the Living Dead" in The Bad, because it's good for a single reading and for those interested in learning more about zombies... but not much beyond that.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Short Film: Hunter

Hey folks, Jay and Shawn (from "We Came From the Basement") asked me to check out this short film called "Hunter", which was written and directed by Ryan Shovey.  So, I decided to take a look see.

Well, I'm impressed- nicely impressed.  I'm not going to dissect this film, for the simple fact that this is actually the first eleven minutes of a proposed feature length version.  If the full movie gets made, I will certainly be keeping my eyes open for it so that I can review it here.

So far, this film has been shown at two film festivals, will be shown at another... and are awaiting approval for screenings at four others.  I'm hoping they do get shown and bring more attention to the crew's work.

Ryan's goal is to raise $50,000.00 in order to produce the full length feature.  if you want to help out, visit him at his KickStarter page, and pledge some money in order to get this awesome short extended to a wonderful full length film!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Frankenstein 80 (1972)

When I do my "What Movie Wednesday," I find myself struggling to find witty, funny, or informative things to tweet as I'm watching the winner.  Other times... the movie provides fuel for tweets that have people crying from laughter...

A serum that could help transplant patients has been stolen and beautiful women are being murdered- with their organs removed.  An investigative reporter becomes involved in the case and finds that a respected doctor has a dark secret to hide...

This was a fun movie to tweet along to- but mostly because there was so much to poke fun at.  This reworking of the classic "Frankenstein" story does a decent job storywise, but does suffer from some serious holes in its logic.  For instance, if the serum is so important, why is it kept in a beaker in an unlocked fridge in  its creator's office?  How did Frankenstein manage to construct a secret lab in the hospital where he works? How was he able to get the body parts without people thinking something weird was going on?  How does the monster keep escaping so easily?

The characters, while not very deep, were decent enough for the story.  I liked the detective who decided he wouldn't smoke again until the case was solved, and Frankenstein's niece.  The only problem I had with the niece was the fact that she was more or less just a love interest for the reporter... and a damsel in distress.  I would've liked her to be a bit stronger than fainting in the hero's arms.  You're not meant to really like Frankenstein, or the monster- though you do feel some sympathy for the monster.  Not a lot, but some.

I enjoyed the acting- as over the top as it was in some respects.  Most of the over the top acting came from Gordon Mitchell who played Frankenstein, but since he's a little demented, it's to be expected.  Renato Ramano as Inspector Schneider was both funny and serious- a nice blend that made his character more likeable.  Dalia Di Lazzaro (credited as Dalia Parker) as the niece looked good.  John Richarson as the reporter was bad either, but didn't change his facial expression much during the movie.  The real props go to Xiro Papas who played the monster, Mosaic.  He didn't have much dialogue, and had to say a lot with just his gestures and stance.

While there are some awesome shots in this film- mostly close-ups, the general camera work is average.  There are some really good uses of shadows in some of the scenes.  The kills were well done- I especially liked the public bathroom one where the monster pretty much mashes a guy's face into a wall.  Nice use of blood in this movie.

What really made tweeting for this movie fun was a combination of two scenes.  The first involves Frankenstein operating on the monster and verbally outlining the procedure in which he transplants new testicles to the monster.  The next scene, what does the monster do?  Hires a hooker.  That bit there provided me with so many jokes, it was ridiculous.  Loved it.

Should people give "Frankenstein 80" at least one watching?  Definately!  It is a movie I would watch again? Hard to say, actually.  I just might, to be honest.  Because I might, I'm going to put this movie in The Good.

Special Shout Out:

I want to thank everyone that voted in this week's "What Movie Wednesday"- especially those that voted for "Frankenstein 80":

Redfeather Freeman
Tanya Marie
Zoey Emily Onyx
Justine's Halloween

The next "What Movie Wednesday" will take place 6th February 2013!

And don't forget to join me Friday nights at 7:00 pm (PST) on Twitter (@camethebasement) as I tweet along to NON-horror movies!

Point of Terror (1971)

During my life, I've only come across ONE movie that enraged me, and made me so angry that I literally growl and mutter profanities at the mere mention of "Mulholland Drive" (2001).  Well, I recently found another movie to add to the "Rage List"..

A nightclub singer has been having nightmares about beautiful women he knows being killed.  Soon, however, he discovers that they may be more than nightmares...

"Point of Terror"- one of this week's "What Movie Wednesday" winners, is a crap film.  That's right, a crap film.  Other than two of the women- the redheaded lady friend with the nice butt and the music exec's wife's daughter, I didn't really give a rat fart about the characters.  They were shallow, callous, and melodramatic.  I wanted them all to die, pretty much.

The acting was melodramatic and soap operatic.  Dyanne Thorne (the music exec's wife), Lory Hansen (the daughter), Paula Mitchell (the redheaded lady friend with the nice butt) and Dana Diamond (the barmaid) looked great, and provided the movie with the only good things in it- boobs and butts.  I found Peter Carpenter as the singer to be ridiculous and hammy... and he looked too much like Tom Jones for comfort- especially in that red fringed suit in the opening credits.

There is some decent pieces of camera work- but mostly during the scenes showing off boobs and butts.  The rest was pretty mediocre and average.

Now, for the story- which REALLY made me curse and scream at the movie.  The premise as outlined by me above is actually interesting.  Too bad this movie decided to screw the audience over with its expectations.  The movie starts with him having a nightmare... the scene of him singing in a red suit with really long fringes on the sleeves, actually.  The rest of the movie is about him pretty much playing and blackmailing the music exec's wife to get a record deal while she's playing and blackmailing him for sex.  There isn't a single nightmare during this movie, and only three people actually die- two of them being male.  Oh, but that's not the most foul thing this movie does.  Nooooo... it turns out that the whole damn movie was a nightmare the singer was having, and he wakes up the same way he did at the beginning.  A bloody DREAM!

Are you serious!?!  What a damn cop out!  It's the same thing that pissed me off about David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive" when I saw it.  It's like that whole season of the TV series "Dallas" that was a dream.  It was a cheap, bullshit way to end the movie.

I don't recommend watching this crapfest.  If you're unfortunately enough to come into possession of this steaming pile of horse dung, burn it.  Microwave it.  Smash it.  Just destroy it!  "Point of Terror" has no terror in it, and due to the ending, boobs and butts can't even save it from being thrown into The Ugly.

Special Shout Out:

I want to thank everyone that voted in this week's "What Movie Wednesday"- especially those that voted for "Point of Terror":

Leona Biron-Coulter
Suzanne Wilson-Cappelletti
Mathew Little (of "The Wayward Tarheel")
Jason Wiggins

The next "What Movie Wednesday" will take place 6th February 2013!

And don't forget to join me Friday nights at 7:00 pm (PST) on Twitter (@camethebasement) as I tweet along to NON-horror movies!