Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Review: Lifeforce (1985)

Stars: Steve Railsback, Peter Firth

Budget: $25 Million

Directed By: Tobe Hooper

Wow this i beginning to become a series of 'films that shit me up when i was younger'
True maybe i shouldn't have watching shit like this when i was 7 or 8 years old, but well that's the thing about a kid with TV and cable in your room with channels like sci-fi and bravo.

So anyway a Vampire flick at heart but with a massive twist, in fact looking back on it and having recently re-watched it, i had the intense feeling of a live action manga film, Vampire Hunter D-esque in nature.
So yes the twist their vampires from 'spaaaaaace' that feed on your, get it, LIFE FORCE. like a kind of electrical energy sucked out of you.
Directed by Critters guy Tobe Hooper this film feels like a British film directed by an american guy, i can't explain why but it really does come across that strongly, mainly because that's whats it is but i feel it's something you'd get even if you didn't know. This is not a bad thing by the way, its a really bold and refreshing take and broke the mold of things like hammer horror films which would have been the thing of the time, you know thoroughly British what, what cup of tea etc, no this had some good action seriousness without getting wrapped up in British tropes.

The film stars an all star cast of Brits from the time too, Firth, Patrick Stewart, Frank Finlay and the beautiful French actress Mathilda May. Based on an actual novel from the 70's inventively called Space Vampires the film did not do well especially for its at the time huge budget of $25 million. It only made $11.6 million in the box office.

So the film starts with a joint American and British team in space to observe a rare comet, the ship the Churchill is an experimental ship that can produce it's own gravity. Whilst checking on the comet the ship finds another ancient craft in the stream of the comet. Within that craft most of it's bat like inhabitants are desiccated husks, that is until they come across three preserved bodies in some kind of hibernation pods. After a bit more digging by the crew ground control loses contact with the Churchill.

When they eventually find out it's coming back to earth they find the ship in bad condition everywhere burned and almost everyone dead. The girl from the pods is found and secured in a room for observation as are the two males in a different room.
The girl wakes up and drains the life force of he guard this is seen by another member of the staff on the security monitors. He tries to save him but the guard is dead by the time he gets there a husk of a man. She seduces the other and is again seen on the monitors by the head doctor, he however gets to the other guy but she hasn't drained him.

An investigator is brought in to see whats going on, the one guy is sent home complaining he's a bit drained. The girl however has escaped overpowering the security guards with ease. The two vampire males awake but are, after lots of bullets and grenades taken out. They go to do an autopsy on the totally drained guy but he wakes up and proceeds to drain the force of the lead operator. They quarantine both the newly regenerated guard in a very bemused state. This is definitely where most of the budget went the practical effects on this film are amazing and the way the drained people cry out and attract normal people to them to feed is what freaked me out so much as a kid. The way they almost wail in pain at their victims making you feel sorry for them.

So they quickly find out that without new energy the weird drained zombie husk vampire things quickly die and is a spectacular explosion of dust too.

It's then found out that Colonel Tom Carlsen is found crash landed in an escape pod. The film diverges into two here following Tom as he hallucinates about the girl as they seem to have some kind of weird connection now. Then there's the detective Col Colin Caine trying to stop this outbreak happening, they do help each other from time to time though.
Carlsen through regression tells of their master plan to absorb as much energy as possible so the ship can as it's passing by absorb it all. Throughout the film now more and more people start getting drained who drain more people as they try to work out a way to stop the vampires.
Leaden Metal is able to, as in traditional vampires kill them if pierced through their heart, the male ones who miraculously piece themselves back together are killed in this fashion. I like the main vampires have a lot of the usual vampiric like powers too, like entrancing, regeneration etc.

Now as always on THN i won't spoil the ending especially as this film has aged quite well and well worth a watch, it's currently on Netflix too. A really good and interesting take on the vampire genre with a lot of twists and turns thrown in. A very good and strong acting effort by all the cast new and experienced alike.
THN awards this freaky  film a very strong 3 out of 5 stars as with an almost 2 hour run time it might be a bit of slog for some people to watch through, otherwise a great film!

Monday, 19 June 2017

THN Top Fives: Head Kills

In horror film one of the nastiest ways to go is have something destroy your noggin, in any way shape or form a blow or otherwise to the most useful appendage on your body usually equals instant death to whoever was unlucky to take that hit.
THN  have what we think are five of the most horrendous ways people, or fodder have died in horror movies after taking a head wound...

5. Machete Wheelchair:
Right so this is from Friday the 13th part 2 Mark a wheelchair bound teen is happily taking in the night air when a machete is thunked into his face diagonally. Not only that the poor teen then goes rattling down some steps in the rain bouncing about like a rag doll.

4. Eyeball puncture!:
Zombie Flesh Eaters the infamous 1979 zombie film has on of the still best eyeball puncturing practical effect death i've ever seen or pretty much still have to see. A woman is grabbed by a rotting appendage and dragged eyeball first onto a giant splinter protruding from the hole she was grabbed from. at least she wasn't eaten alive, that's better right, right?

3. Indy Face Melt:
Not a horror film but still a frightful way to die, even in a pretty much family friendly film too. So the Nazi's have found the ark of the covenant believing it will grant them uber powers the greedily open the golden chest.
Unfortunately evil spirits are released which proceed to melt the face and heads of anyone stupid enough to look inside the box. Was clearly a gruesome scene and one of the most memorable scenes of the series.

2. Frosty Face Death:
That lovely scene from Jason X, the poor student doing an autopsy on big tall and killy doesn't notice when our frosty friend starts to thaw and reanimate upon the operating table.
While she's busy looking at stuff through a microscope she is grabbed and has her face thrust into below freezing liquid nitrogen. within seconds her face is a frosty mess. Then to add frosting on the cake, he smashes her face on the counter into tiny little crystalised pieces!

1. Brains Sucked Through a Straw:
Ok this is my top head death, it comes from none other than starship troopers and was one of the first true scenes that proper grossed me out. Being that i watched in the cinema when it was originally released as just a 15 age rated film.
You all probably know the scene i'm talking about the brain bug sucking out Zanders brain with it's straw like appendage, why this was so bad to me is your alive while your brain is literally being slurped out, can you imagine that? just slowly losing yourself as you brain is sucked out. Makes me shudder eeww.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Review: Leprechaun 3 (1995)

Stars: Warwick Davis, John Gatins

Budget: 1.2 Million

Directed By: Brian Trenchard-Smith

Aah the Leprechaun Series. This is one of my pet loves, well at least until the 'in the hood' sequels. Even the inevitable next sequel of 'in space' is better than those, that's a different film for a different time though.

Warwick returns as the titular wee guy with a different origin once again. I often wonder if it's the same leprechaun or different ones who just all lookalikes and a mad little killers!

A small budget and a not to great story line mars this addition to the series though especially since it's filmed in and around Las Vegas. In fact one of the alternate titles to this film was Leprechaun in Las Vegas.

So this time we see a porn shop come into the possession of a strange little statue. It is seeming made of gold and depicts the wee man with a golden medallion around his neck. The pawn shop owner is told that the medallion is lucky and magic, the owner greedily takes the medallion off which free's the leprechaun from his imprisonment in the statue. He then murders the shop owner. Again the Leprechaun has his gold and when the hero of the film, a down on his luck student, Scott who comes into the pawn shop to sell his Rolex watch. He picks up one of the gold coins then flees at the sight of the dead shop owner.

What Scott doesn't know is the coin can grant wishes, he ends up wishing for his luck to turn which it does. In turn he grabs the attention of both the leprechaun and the casino owners, as he keeps winning so much money. The casino also has a two bit magic act in the form of Fazio and Loretta, Loretta is an older woman worried about her looks. They steal the coin and when the leprechaun stumbles across these two looking for it and Scott.
Scott fights with the leprechaun and gets bitten in the process, some of the leprechauns blood also gets into the bite before Scott throws him from the hotel window. The leprechaun slowly starts kill people who made wishes with the coin twisting what they wished for. Once they are outside the power of the coins influence he is able to make the wish turn on them and kill them.

The casino owner is killed by a weird robot version of a girl he wanted to have sex with and Loretta who wished for the body of a younger woman loves it when her body plumps up. Then despairs as they keep plumping up like balloons until the inevitable and they explode.
All this time Scott is infected by the leprechaun blood which is in turn, turning him into a human sized leprechaun. This does however give him powers like the little guy but also his greed over gold too. This makes for some fun interactions between Scott and the leprechaun between gold and magic powers, his girlfriend Tammy is also caught up in all this but just seems to want the best for Scott including taking him to hospital where they refuse to see him due to his green cross insurance.

In a final show down between the two (after Fazio's last wish to be the best magician is reversed to kill him) the leprechaun actually tries to entice Scott into joining him with the lure of half of his gold. Does he take it or does he ignore it that you'll have to find out for yourself as we don't spoil the ending of decent films here in THN. Leprechaun 3 scores a 3 out of 5 stars.

THN Moving to YouTube

Yes we are transitioning to YouTube (hopefully) why do i say hopefully?
Well THN is pretty much run by just one person, me the guy you know as the horror master, I have someone who does the Facebook side of things but that's about it. So I say hopefully because i'm not rich, this is going to involve some help so i've set up a go fund me, here:

What does this entail?
I will be able to buy a new GOOD laptop to mix audio and visual files and a decent camera to produce that video content. This doesn't mean by any mean the blog will closing down no no no, i'll be doing both video and written reviews for both, then hopefully i can move on to getting in people to help make MORE content, even be able to make it to film premiers etc.

So any people who can offer a small amount of money to aid me in getting this equip would be in a great thank you video, named and thanked by me.
Thank you for all of the support you have shown me in the many years i've been doing this.

The Horror Master

Friday, 2 June 2017

Review: Hellraiser 5 Inferno (2000)

Stars: Doug Bradley, Craig Sheffer

Budget: $2 million

Directed By: Scott Derrickson

Okay so this is a series that after the 4th movie steadily went down hill. Despite that there's some decent acting and the always great turn of Doug Bradley as the demonic Pinhead.
It's also the first one where the you don't really route for any of the characters, you want pinhead to teach them a lesson.

It features all the things a Hellraiser film should though, the Lemarchand's box, surreal scenes and is it real or not?

This one starts off with clearly corrupt detective Joseph Thorne. We know he's corrupt as we frequently see him taking drugs and cheating.
It's also hot and getting hotter in Denver and murder is on the books. Joseph is called to the scene of a suspected ritualistic murder where he discovers the Lemarchand puzzle box.

Joseph naturally in a Hellraiser film is also very keen on puzzles and fiddles with the box until he solves it. Not long after solving the damned box Thorne begins to suffer from delusions and hallucinations, one such is being seduced by two horribly mutilated women. After being chased by a no eyed beast from hell Joseph tries to dig further into whats going on.
He finds evidence linking a suspect known only as The Engineer, to the original murder, he is also linked to the disappearance/kidnapping of a young child. When Thorne starts to get close to capturing him however The Engineer starts picking off some of his friends and acquaintances, most horrifically the killer leave behind one of the kids fingers at every murder.

Thorne tries to get psychiatric help for his hallucinations in an effort to try get his mind sorted out. Unfortunately this backfires when his doctor reveals himself to be none other than Pinhead, he explains about hell and the cenobites. Not only that but since Thorne first started using box he has in fact been trapped in hell himself where he has been being punished for his sins in life.
Not only that 'The Engineer' has been a construct of Thorne's mind embodying his cruelty where as the child has been his innocence. Thus in his mind the evil side has been winning out over his better judgement. Unbelieving of his situation Thorne tries to escape his own personal hell.

That is where THN stops and doesn't spoil the ending. Despite it's many flaws and no one to really route for it does have an intriguing plot and will keep you wondering whats going on. Although that's not exactly great when it can get just plain puzzling for no sake.
So THN awards Hellraiser 5 Inferno, a pretty strong 2 out of 5 stars with a recommend to watch if you've liked the other films up until this one.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Review: Beyond Re-Animator (2003)

Stars: Jeffrey Combs, Jason Barry

Budget: 3 Million

Directed By: Brian Yuzna

The Re-Animator series is one of the greats, mostly done by brilliant comedy horror director Brian Yuzna these like the ROTLD series have all his usual tongue in cheek schlock horror tropes. These include surreal moments and incredible gore filled, yet funny moments. Much like other films in it's time and genre like the Evil Dead series.

This series is based on HP Lovecraft's books chronicling the misadventures of one Dr Herbert West. A man obsessed with death and the prevention of it happening.

If you've seen any of the others his plans never go to well as his reanimating solution never seems to fully bring back full cognitive ability in his subjects. This often means the dead come back as anything from dangerous psychos to gibbering wrecks.

The first film is definitely a cult favourite and the second a very decent follow up in a lot of respects, this however is the distant cousin of sequels. Not so far removed that is changes to much or even replaces key characters but its 13 year gap, small budget, poor writing and only Combs returning make this a very unneeded sequel just to cash in on the name and star.
Not that this film is incredibly bad it just doesn't take the series anywhere other than oh more experimentation. Although despite this it is great to see Jeffery back as West and if you like the others you will like this, So lets get on with the movie.

West has been serving in prison for the past 13 years, nice see they bridge that gap!
Despite this and using any ingredients he can scavenge he is still managing to create enough of his serum to do little experiments on rats.
Despite this he has discovered something new in his research, a sort of energy that can be extracted from a living person. This energy is electric in nature so can be stored in something like a light bulb (which he does in this film). Though this puzzles me, you have to kill two people to one for the reanimation subject the other to extract this life force energy.
Then you reanimate the one person and use the stored energy to bring them back to ALMOST human levels. That right not even this way makes the dead come back to 100% close but still not full.

A new doctor Howard Phillips (HP get it?) (Barry) gets assigned to work the infirmary in the hospital, West with his experience (and the fact the doctor knows of his studies) gets to work with him. This enables West to increase his levels of experimentation.
We also learn that Phillips sister was a casualty of the original experiments and has been looking to work with West for a long time. It's also around this time a reporter, Laura, doing a paper on the prison meets Phillips and starts seeing him, unfortunately the prison warden also has a infatuation with her. Ultimately though his infatuation leads to him almost raping her and killing her when she resists his advances.

Phillips was initially reluctant to give West full experimental capability, now distraught over the death of Laura. West attempts to bring Laura back to life using the new technique and his serum though as soon as we see the human side of this it's clear there is still problems even using both of his techniques.
The prison warden discovers this too, so in true West form he kills the bastard. Then promptly resurrects him but uses a rats life force thing NPE i think it's called Neuro or nano plasmic energy. I haven't watched this for a while to remember that clearly!

Quickly everything descends into madness as usual in these films as phials of Wests serum is being distributed around the prison, i think they think its a drug. You should know what happens to live people who take the serum from the past movies.
As people start dying and resurrecting a big old riot breaks out in the prison forcing more death and gore to descend upon the populace. Laura gets decapitated along the way leaving Phillips even more distraught and a wreck.

So there's not much left to film after this and Beyond is just ok enough for me not to spoil the very end for you. If you love the first movies you'll like maybe even appreciate this third film in the franchise, I do love them and so to loved the chance to see more work from Combs and Yuzna who I both adore for their work in their areas. THN awards Beyond Re-Animator with a mediocre 3 out of five stars with a watch if your fan or there's nothing else on TV/Streaming etc.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

IT 2017 Trailer Breakdown

So this year we are getting a lot of remakes, or additions to old/existing franchises. From Child's Play to Saw, we were getting another Friday the 13th that has unfortunately been canned though. Still we are getting a super awesome game based on the series up to part 9 at least.
One remake that has peaked a lot of people interests is the Stephen King classic IT. A lot of people love the original not because it's a masterpiece but because of the brilliant Tim Curry Pennywise and the hammy nature of the entire film.

The remake however looks set to remove the jolly of the clown and make him definitively the clown from everyone's nightmares. Some people seem on the fence about this but others willing to give it a try. I for a while was more interested in this despite the looks of Pennywise (another reason some people aren't to hot on the remake) than the upcoming other King work, the Dark Tower, though since seeing the trailer for that I've been somewhat swayed to give it a chance.

IT however I both enjoyed and quite like the look of the evil clown. So much so I've cottoned on to some of the things in the trailer which may or not be important to the story, everything is in the viewers minds eye right?

So in the opening scenes we see who i can only guess is Georgie sailing his waxed paper boat down the streets in the rain just like the book and the original film. This is where something really interesting and in my eyes at least because it make me wonder if a concussion type nightmare is something that's going to be a theme in this film?

If so it would be a nice way to explain the surreal themes this film will bring up if its all a collective nightmare of sorts, why i think this si because right up until that scene there's happy music playing then bam head hit it stops, something to think about perhaps.

There is definitely a large theme of playing on fears in this film and the way things are done that not everyone notices things happening like balloons floating past in the middle of a room except the kid that's involved, suggests it is only a small shared psychosis too.
Along with the fact that each of these children have experienced abuse or bullying at some point in their life to would leave them open to suggestibility or maybe even gives them the ability to see danger where most who live a normal happy life wouldn't.

What we all would like is if this was a real terrifying thing that some rag tag bunch of kids did find the courage to beat, but it think the under laying mental state will always make you wonder...

Onto some fears i have from the trailer now, i'm hoping every scare isn't a typical high sound effect screech thing to elicit a cheap jump scare. I don't have massive fears of this as the trailer only really does this once when Georgie first see's Pennywise In the drain.

Everything else seems to be mind playing tricks on you like the balloons just there or floating past, or just out right freaky like a number of times where the slide show goes bananas, the part where Pennywise claws come out to play and the wild scene where the killer clown in chasing one of the children arms flailing like a mad man.

Overall i have not high expectations for this film but at least a good feeling that yes it will be a more serious telling than our cult classic but will be certainly better acting and pace wise and find a place in our hearts next to the classic, THN signing off.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Review: The Blob (1988)

Stars: Kevin Dillon, Shawnee Smith

Budget: $19 Million

Directed By: Chuck Russell

Aaah remakes sometimes they get it right (rarely) other times it's a total miss (most times) this at least to me is a very near case of right!

This remake takes everything of the original film and increases it ten fold. well maybe not everything some acting here is very two dimensional but aside from that its a ramp up in nearly every area. No surprise this was an early writing effort of Frank Darabont too.

The horror/gore are the most increased facets of this remake and in making those more graphic the effects have been upgraded exponentially too.
This may well of been one of the films downfalls ultimately as for it's budget it was quite high for a film of it's time.
Not a guaranteed box office smash took a massive gamble with the money pumped into this remake. Unfortunately it did not make it back and only found fame on VHS.
Only making $8.2 million back certified this film as a flop in a cinematic sense however.

There are minor changes to the story line to bring it up to date and be more relevant to the time it was released. Distrust of governments and echoes of war and weapons of mass destruction scaring people.

Starting off almost exactly the same as the 1958 version of the film a seeming meteorite crashes into the woods of California. A homeless man discovers the crashed sphere and pokes it with a stick, the giant amoeba like creature inside leaps up the stick and starts devouring the old mans hand.
Brian (played by Dillon), Meg (Shawnee) and Paul find the unfortunate man and take him to the hospital. This is where the aforementioned horror, effects and gore really ramp up, Brian leaves Meg and Paul at the hospital where Paul finds the blob has dissolved half of the old man.
Creeping along the ceiling the blob then drops on an unsuspecting Paul. The creature quickly starts to dissolve the poor boy right in front of Meg, squealing for her help Meg grabs his arm and pulls, pulls it right off! Meg collapses unconscious after bumping her head.

The police don't take to kindly to Brian aparantly but him and Meg team up, they both make it to a diner where Meg explains to Brian about the blob. Skeptical Brian doesn't believe her until George the diners handyman in pulled face first into the sinks drain. It then comes for them and in a scene hearkening to the original they make it to the diners walk in freezer.
Which again echoing the 1958 version seemingly causes the blob intense pain, it retreats only to Kill the diners owner Fran while inside a telephone box (we also see the sheriff has been devoured too here) Meg and Brian escape the freezer and leave.

The crazy old reverend witnesses some of this scene and goes to the diner, there he finds some crystallized pieces of the blob and puts them in a small kilner jar. After visiting the police station they are told Deputy Briggs is up where the meteor originally crashed.
Reaching there they discover a full on military outfit excavating the meteor led by head scientist Dr Meddow's. When the town is quarantined Brian manages to escape a truck he's trapped in and retrieve his motorbike

Meg on the other hand has been taken into town where she discovers her kid brother and his friend have vanished. They have however sneaked into the towns cinema where the blob is attacking and devouring people, Meg makes it back to see her brother fleeing from said cinema. She escapes with them both.

Brian manages to eavesdrop on Meddow's and, here's the cold war etc references in that the blob was a man made weapon deemed to powerful to use and was sent into outer space. He is discovered but manages to evade capture by head into the sewers on his bike.
Also in the sewers are Meg, her brother and his friend Eddie who is also devoured by the blob quite horrifically (yes kid death in this movie too). Her brother escapes through some grating and Meg is found by some soldiers who try to protect her. When they die Brian shows up and drives through the sewers on his bike with the blob in hot pursuit.
Brian and Meg make it out and blame it all on Meddow's, who in turn tries to blame it on Brian saying he's gone mad with infection from the blob. When people don't believe him he goes to shoot Brian only to be dragged to his death into the sewers by a blob tendril. When the army tries to shoot and blow up the blob in an attempt to kill it the blob gets really angry and starts attacking anyone who gets in it's way.

The reverend comes out preaching the end of the world just as the army tries to use flamethrowers against the blob and he gets caught in the crossfire. Meg manages to save him and in a process that echoes the original again she twigs that the cold hurts the blob when it recoils from an extinguisher.

The towns survivors barricade themselves inside town hall and use extinguishers to stop the blob attacking. Despite this the blob still kills the deputy and starts to engulf the building.
Brian escapes and manages to get to a snow making machine, he makes it back just in time to rescue Meg and a few others shooting cold snow over the creature. Angered it knocks the truck over and goes to kill Brian. Now i wouldn't as usually spoil a films ending as you know but just as in the original as here in the remake I will make an exception.
Meg manages to get the blobs attention and lead it back to the truck where she has placed a stolen bomb pack onto the nitrogen canisters. Sure as anything it explodes and manages to flash freeze the blob into thousands of tiny crystalline rocks. They then store this in the towns ice house, unlike the original where the blob was dropped off in the arctic.

The however doesn't end there, no we are treated to an extra scene where the reverend is scarred and preaching the end of the world. Low and behold it is revealed that the small pieces of the blob in the jar are now one small organism alive and well inside!

Now to me this version improves and expands upon the ideas of the original film in many ways and decently too. This doesn't warrant however the mass gore it also calls upon, this was again one of those films i watched as a youngster 8 or so and found unable to finish and came back to later on in life 12 or 13 to re-watch. Now some of the acting is a bit iffy but all the cold war and paranoia at your government lines are very relevant to it's time. this version however loses some of the tension of the original in using big effects shocks to scare you rather than clever little effects.
So with those downsides and plus sides i give blob the 1988 remake an equal score but for very different reasons to it's predecessor a 3 out of 5 with a recommendation to watch.

Review: Hunting Grounds (2015)

Stars: Bill Oberst Jr, D'Angelo Midili

Budget: Can't find, guessing very little

Directed By: John Portanova

Ok so i was sent this as a screener to review
It was originally called something different to this
it was rerelease this year of an older 2015 film
called Valley of the Sasquatch.

It stars THN friend Bill Oberst Jr and even though I wasn't sent it nor could i find it, this movie was probably filmed on a shoestring budget. Seriously i'm guessing the sasquatch costumes probably took up most of the budget.

So yeah, budget wise this b-movie suffers from all the usual tropes. Excessesively long chats in one or two locations that are constantly reused over and over again to pad out a 90 minute (or there about) run time.

Bill is a trooper and so loyal to the indie scene, he is a spectacular actor way below his pay grade, but i love that he loves and keeps coming back to film in movies like this and i'm talking on average 3-4 films a year! On with the movie:

First off we see b-movie veteran Bill alone in the woods, he comes across a camp where he finds a dead man, he is then seemingly killed also.
Cut to a town where a young man (Micheal) and his dad (Roger) have fallen on bad times after the wife/mother has died and they are having to move out of town to a small cabin in the woods. This sets them up having no mobile phones etc (nice little trick there to keep them isolated) the dad seems a little overly harsh. Especially when he says about the mobile phones not being essential but then buys lots of beer, it's obvious here he's got a bit of a problem.

When they reach the cabin they see it's been ransacked with the door busted open and all it's furniture messed up yet not broken or stolen. Dad then explains as they are tidying and fixing the place up that uncle Will and Sergio (Dad's friend) are coming for a visit. This further alienates Micheal as he seemingly doesn't like Sergio (for good reason too) When they both come Sergio is indeed a massive dick to Mike any opportunity he can get. Will however (who seems really young looking to be an uncle to someone Micheal's age) seems to be a very good influence.

Will comments on a meteor shower that's happening that night, sure enough Sergio acts like a dick and Micheal leaves in a huff. Will joins him later and they have a chat while the meteor shower goes on above them. Will explains that Micheal's mother was a good influence on his father she was the one stopping him from becoming the bum he's currently turning into.
He also offers Micheal a college fund as his gym's are doing well and he's even opened a second one due to this. Micheal is ecstatic at this but worried about his dad, Will assures him he'll deal with his dad when the time comes. Both happy they leave the roof and return to the cabin.

Sergio is once again a dick towards Micheal making him sleep out on the couch while he takes the boys bedroom. In the morning he is rudely awoken by the others and forced to go on a hunting trip with them, here Sergio and his father force Micheal to shoot a deer. He misses and Sergio and his father scold him for being so being so useless they then carry on hiking.
Sergio starts to get tired as well as agitated at all the walking and nothing happening, then he see's something he thinks is a creature. He gets scared and wants to go back to the cabin, they say about camping outside this alienates both Sergio and Micheal.
It's then they get jumped by the Sasquatch and Micheal's dad gets dragged off by one of them. Sergio forces the other two to go back to the cabin, in a ruckus Sergio stabs Will to death and gets Micheal to move his corpse to the bedroom out of his sight.

Her good old Jr pops back in he's been able to escape from the Sasquatch after being kidnapped by them, he caves in one of their heads. They knock out Sergio and go on the defensive, Micheal's dad also makes it back with a damaged leg. The Sasquatches start to attack the cabin and they all make an effort to escape but Micheal's dad drops the car keys.
Poor old Bill's character is captured and gets both his arms ripped off by the creatures so Micheal and his dad hide back in the cabin. Sergio awakes and Roger finds out from Micheal that he killed his brother, he seems to take it quite well. That is until they formulate an escape plan and then Roger bungs Sergio into the midst of the Sasquatches so they can escape.

There's not much left of this film so I won't spoil the ending it's not quite that bad enough to spoil, almost but not quite. Bill here is one of the saving graces, despite a short screen time his character is great, the film however is quite bunk and suffers from to many of the tropes that make b-movies bad.
Will dies so now whats going to happen to Micheal?
To much blah, blah in one spot meaning it can get very boring to have scene after scene.
A boring pointless plot and Sergio is a guy who just needs to die and no one, surely no one is that much of a dick to someones kid before the father would do something surely?
Aside from that the Sasquatch effects are great and Will being one of the stronger characters of the film is very well acted. These pluses minuses drive THN to give Hunting Grounds an unfortunate 2 stars out of 5 worth watching if there's really nothing else around or on at that point.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Review: The Blob (1958)

Stars: Steve McQueen, Aneta Corsaut

Budget: $110,000

Directed By: Irvin Yeaworth

It creeps and leaps and glides and slides across the floor, be careful of the blob!

I had actually seen the 1988 version before this wonder. Traversing the pound shops as a youth I seen this on VHS in one and thought how bad can a 1958 version of a film that properly shit me up and gave me nightmares as a young child be?

Not bad at all, it's almost like watching a different film with the same premise to be honest.
its mostly in black and white but the version i had had the blob, once it had eaten once turn a red colour.
staring A reasonably young faced Steve McQueen in one of his first roles, though looking way older than a school teen as he was supposed to be.
Made on a small budget even for those times all actors were paid little and the effects were made very cheaply yet very practical and looked good for it's time.

These include the blob actually moving through stop motion and it pushing its way through some theatre doors, obviously done on a miniature set.

So McQueen (Steve, yes his character is called Steve) and his girlfriend (Jane) notice when a meteorite crashes into a nearby forest, an old man living near reaches it first only for the rock to split open and reveal a white glutenous gel like creature in it's centre. Poking it with a stick the blob quickly travels up the stick and engulfs the mans hand causing him terrible pain.
Steve and Jane find him crying out and when he shows them his hand they quickly take him to see the doctor. Doctor Hallen is a little flustered as he was about to leave for a conference but once he see's the thing his intrigue takes over.

The Doctor anesthetizes him then sends Steve and Jane to back to the site to see if there's anymore evidence etc. The blob is spreading rapidly so Hallen decides to amputate, unfortunately before he can the old man is totally consumed. His nurse is dissolved too and then Steve and Jane return to see the doctor being absorbed by the creature too.
Both heading to the sheriff  they get lieutenant Dave and Sergeant Burt go with them back to the doctors. Knowing the doctor was off on a conference and finding nothing Burt calls it a prank and gets the kids parents to pick them up.

The Blob has moved on and is clearly getting bigger and redder with every person it consumes adding their mass to it's own. It kills the town mechanic next and moves on again.
Steve and Jane have sneaked out to recruited a few friends to help them warn people of the danger when they are cornered by the blob after investigating his dads shop being open. The only place they can escape to is the freezer where it seems the intense cold is a perfect deterrent to the blob.

Meanwhile Steve's and Jane's friends have set off the towns air and fire alarms so as to get townsfolk's attention, where they promptly disbelieve everything the kids have to say. While this is happening the blob has entered the theatre and consumed many people, the survivors come screaming out of the building proving Steve right. The blob oozes out of the front doors too causing everyone else to flee, including Steve's younger brother Danny who along with Jane and his brother hide in a nearby diner.

The blob is now large enough to easily cover the whole diner, Steve has no plans when Dave patches his radio through to the diners phone. He tells them to enter the cellar as they are going to attempt to drop a live power line on the monster.
Bert shoots the wire once he thinks everyone is safe and it drops upon the blob. Although thousands of volts dance all over the thing it is unaffected by the electricity, which has started a fire in the diner.
Steve quickly grabs a Co2 extinguisher and puts the fire out, not before hitting the blob with it too and causing it to recoil. Steve coupled with the freezer incident finally realises that it's the cold the blob doesn't like.

It's not far from the end here so THN won't spoil no more for you. So whats my overall verdict of this film? For it's 59 year age and relatively low budget even for it's time this film sets up some good tension which i'll add is missing quite a bit from the 88 remake. This is done by the use of more of 'what you don't see' which really works in this film, the only let down is the ending (on both this and the new) THN awards the 1958 version of the blob a solid 3 stars out of 5.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

THN Top 5: Horror Anthologies

I may have mentioned before that I love anthology type horrors, any film that includes more than one story be it linked or just separate entities i can't get enough of them.
There are some bad ones, good ones and ones that make you go meh. But one thing i have noted is that i have yet to find one that is truly god awful.
So if you've never indulged or maybe looking for a gem you may not have seen check out my top 5:

5. Twilight Zone: The Movie
This one sticks in my head because i sure apart from maybe an old hammer Horror one was the first anthology to stick in my head. Featuring a multitude of stories from a boy with immense psychic powers to a man witnessing a gremlin demon tearing up the wings of the plane he travelling on. We even get 'do you want to see something really scary?' by Dan Ackroyd which truly did make young me shit my pants lol.
It is unfortunately dated and aged now, though this is still in my books a must see for any anthology fans.

4. The ABC's of death 2
Far superior to it's predecessor with some very chilling shorts, some twisted and funny also some are unusually thought provoking. The first one is certainly funny with the inept assassin. Then the one with the Russian roulette that looks like their being forced into it, they are but for entirely different reasons you might think. If you want a more modern take on anthologies this one will be right up your street.

3. Creepshow 2
The second in the three part series, i may be jaded because this one was the first I watched then the first one. To me though this one seems more horror than the first film which has a lot more comedy elements than this one. Old chief wooden head being one of my favorites the bad guys in this short really deserve the gory end they get.
Then there's the raft which is almost the blob it certainly acts and dissolves people just like the 1988 version of the film. Although I wasn't fan of the ending to that short a little undeserved, but the last one the hitchhiker is quite funny and the repeating thanks for the ride lady is something i can never forget even after he's mangled beyond recognition.

2. Trilogy Of Terror
From way back in 1975 this is almost my favorite for one reason and one reason alone, the little Zuni doll that screams like a little idiot and seems so stupid to be scared of or killed by. But when it's shooting little arrows at you or blow pipes it's so effectively terrifying.
A big influence over other media like games, in Diablo 2 the little Zuni are an effective enemy there too. The others are great to and even though I felt Twilight zone was aged, this has to but not so bad, don't get me wrong it's old but a fun film.

1. John Carpenters Body Bags
Possibly one of the best anthology films i've seen at least in my book, this is after all my list of favorites. Three very good stories book ended by some funny moments from John Carpenter himself as the morgue attendant introducing each segment.
From hair where a poor man obsessed by his looks and losing his hair goes in for some hair loss treatment that turns out not to be what it says on the pamphlet.
The Gas station is  a typical stalker, who is the killer? type story.
The best one being Mark Hamill who loses an eye then gets a replacement from a psychotic killer only to be slowly taken over by the replacement.

These may or may not be on your lists but i'm sure you'll agree these are by far some of the best anthology films available to watch. Please take my list and decide if you want to see any of them for yourself.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Review: Beyond the Gates (2016)

Stars: Graham Skipper, Barbara Crampton

Budget: $300,000

Directed By: Jackson Stewart

Bab's is back!
That's right good old scream queen Barbara Crampton appears in this film, a homage to 80's video board game crazes.

It also, like a few movies of recent times has some heavily influences from that time period too. From the filming style to the colours and even effects.
This is a massive feat considering this was made on the incredibly small budget of £300,000. Almost in micro budget territory with such a low amount of funds.

This film is also decently acted and cut well too with some good but basic effects thrown in for good measure.
Lets get on with the film shall we.

The film shows us a happy family a mother and father with two kids playing around outside a newly opened video shop.
The kids are two brothers and they all seem pleased with the shop. as they all look on towards it as the film fades to black.

A number of years later around 20 the father has gone missing and their mother has been long dead. The two brothers (obviously now older) meet up at the store.
Apparently their father has gone missing before except this time it's been for a long time. Since it's been such a long time they are assuming the worst this time. The brothers are two very different people also, one a hard working serious type (Gordon) the other a laid back down and out (John).
Gordon lives out of town with his girlfriend Margot who is coming into town later on, he doesn't seem to enthused about coming to the town. He also seems terribly unimpressed by his brothers choices in life too. They check out his old video store and actually begin to get nostalgic as they begin to pack the videos away.

An old friend from their past shows up and is now the sheriff of the town, he gets nostalgic over a particular tape and the brothers let him take it. John starts talking about video board games as he finds them upon the shelf. near the end of the day they realise they can't get into the back room and think the key must be back at the house.

We meet Margot now and she seems to be properly in love with Gordon despite something happening between them a little while back. Gordon finds the back office key just before they go to bed.
The next day both the brothers enter their fathers backroom, which isn't what they were expecting but they do find a video board game they haven't seen before.
The put the tape in and we are treated to the opening narrative of the board game by none other than Bab's Crampton. A weird time lapse happens as they are watching the video and it's already time to pack up for home.

Back at their dad's old house they continue to play the game and learn that it's not an entirely up to scratch, in fact it's quite possibly demon possessed. They learn more about the game from some other near do wells, especially where their father bought it from.
Despite coming to the conclusion that their father has disappeared into the board game they try to leave it be but the game won't let them stop playing. So Margot, Gordon and John continue to play the game at the video's behest. There's really not that much left to say about the film, in fact we are near the end which you know i won't spoil.

That's the trouble with this film though, it builds up and builds up vey well in fact only to have the end of the film splurge it's load in the last 15 minutes, despite this the pacing is pretty decent and goes quite well from scene to scene. Not quite a 4 star but above a three star too so THN awards Beyond the gates 3 out of five stars but with a Heavy recommendation to watch.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Review: Peelers (2016)

Stars: Wren Walker, Caz Odin Darko

Budget: Unknown, probably not much

Directed By: Seve Schelenz

My word it's not often we come along a big pile of steaming shit in the horror nation.
Even some of the worst b-movies are at least watching or forgivable because of their low budgets or inexperienced actors.

These often make for a certain charm that keeps the movie watchable to an extent. but when you get absurdly bad writing, laughable acting and not a single character to relate to there's just nothing to redeem this movie.
Not that there's  nothing that is redeemable here except for maybe the surprisingly original way the zombies are made.
But that is quickly spoiled by to many other irredeemable factors, which i'll get to.

This is almost a clone of zombie strippers too except that film had some spark and excuse me for being crude showed a lot more 'skin' which helps with the fellas you know.
I know this tries to have something to say about big powers and oil etc but it just doesn't work with the rubbish the rest of the film delivers.

So enough with the put downs lets get on with describing the dribble shall we?

right so we are treated to some random stranger in a bed who when a nurse enters goes bananas and attacks her.
Orderlies and doctors rush in to help only for the door to close and blood leak out from under it.

We then see the interior of the strip club this is the problem they try to set up to many things to make you care about the people like why does blue jeans have a police bike. A necklace with L M on it but none of it pans out to more than two dimensional stories to try and flesh out some stupid characters or trying to force you into trying to like them past irredeemable flaws.

The door man Remy played by Caz, clearly has a crush on Blue Jeans, the bar man fancies one or multiple members of the stripping club it was so cliched that I didn't care which. She is in the process of selling the club, in fact it's the last night of the club before it changes hands.
Blue Jean's for some reason has a police bike as her mode of transport, to which she is called outside to show someone. Though they have already taken upon themselves to have a go on her bike.
When she says about this the bike rider who is interested in buying the bike proceeds to, in a off handed way insult her (though why some of the things she states as a 'strike' are just childish or absurd) until he finally calls her BJ, probably because it's a play on blowjob. She  then proceeds to (as she was a baseball player too) smash in the boys nose and teeth with a baseball.
He tries to chase her but one of the Mexicans earlier let into the club knocks the boy off his feet, which she thanks him for.

Turns out these Mexicans think they found some oil in a mine earlier that night, though they say they are there to celebrate one of their birthdays. Each one of them has been infected by the oil that really is oil but has some odd strain in it that infects anyone that comes into contact with it.
So one by one the Mexicans succumb to the infection, all the while each of the strippers puts on their own 'authentic' show for the punters. Even these feel forced or even totally pointless, the new girl (on a night where the club is being sold?) is nervous to go on the stage. One as she's scared she'll do shit compared to the other girls and secondly her jealous boyfriend might be watching.

Two men and a stripper are slaughtered in a private dance area during this the woman with the bad nerves goes onto the stage. Her boyfriend just happens to be at the bar and yes flies out of control when she goes up on stage and takes her bra off.
They argue until out the back and then both of them are murdered by one of the oil infected guys, the barman who has followed them manages to escape by holding the attacking guy off. Gibbering and hands covered in oil he is discovered with the bodies at his feet.

The police come and they are after Blue Jeans son as he has stolen and joy rode in a police car. The female officer goes to see Logan (her son) then the infected kill her partner, another infected leaps through the back office where Logan (who is apparently a ladies man) is getting it on with the female officer. The infected guy smooshes the officers head with the desk but Logan manages to shoot him down. They evacuate the rest of the patrons from the bar.
They realise they can't kill these infected as they keep coming back alive, then they try shooting them in the head. Blue Jeans has gone into the back room to get the strippers, the one who's gimmick is being a baby on stage (she actually pisses on people too!) is killed. Picking up her old baseball bat she bashes the guys head in with it.

They seem to think the head shots/bashing has done the trick, they proceed, Logan, BJ, Remy, another stripper and a pregnant stripper too, to go find the barman. He has unfortunately been infected by the oil on his hands and kills the other stripper.
This is where the film takes it's turn to being zero stars, it just goes beyond stupid and does things so tastelessly from now on. They come to the conclusion that water and oil doesn't mix despite the body being mostly water (so how does it infect them in the first place?) Logan magically pulls this out of the air by suddenly telling them he went to college.
Then the power and the water are cut as the idiot who is buying the club has them turned off at exactly 12 midnight. Remy devises that beer is mostly water here, the barman comes back to life and the pregnant strippers water breaks on his face killing him.

Remy and BJ take bottles of beer out into the bar to take care of the rest of the infected guys, now all the way through this people are touching the oil or getting grabbed yet not being infect too. The pregnant stripper has the baby but is then tastelessly ripped apart almost exactly afterwards for no reason other than to shock?
I don't know i just didn't like it, it was uncalled for. Sorry but there;s one thing i dislike in films and that's things to do with babies getting hurt or in peril etc. Anyway BJ and Logan make it out with the baby after killing the rest and discovering the guy who bought the club knows about the oil and how it infects people too. He is actually infected too, BJ brains him before making it out.

I am spoiling the ending because the film is so abysmal, the boy from earlier is infected outside and is their last fight, for some idiotic reason after killing him they choose to set the club on fire by sending the police car on fire towards the club. There's some stupid joke that's lame about the name of the club and then they drive off with the BABY on a MOTORBIKE. Not that it matter because halfway down the road it seems Logan is infected to as the oil dribbles from his nose.
Then he just DROPS THE BABY ON THE ROAD, this is sick and distasteful and not needed AT ALL. This was the last straw that broke the camels back for me, this film may have scraped one star for it's original take on zombies with the weird oil if that hadn't happened.
So THN awards this sickening pile of crap the lowest of the low the dregs of Satan's bum hole zero out of five stars

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Review: Train to Busan (2016)

Stars: Yoo Gong, Yu-Mi Jung

Budget: 10 billion SKW, almost $9m

Directed By: Sang-Ho Yeon

Wow, what can I say?
Korea had gangnam style break out now we have a full on viral infected zombie outbreak film.
Will it or has it taken the world by storm like that of a sun-glassed blue suit wearing singer?

Only time will tell, but i will say here before the review i sure hope it does. This film is great it's got like 90% practical effects too which is refreshing to see in a film universe dominated by CGI.

You may be used to seeing ghosts or possession type films coming from the east, but a full blown 28 days later, though clearly inspired by world war z too zombie film?
It's pretty unheard of, even before the review ends i have to say this is a must watch film, a five out of five?
You'll have to keep reading on to see how it goes!

So we start the film with a farmer (i think) of some sorts driving through some kind of quarantined area, he has a bit of a moan when some men sanitize his little truck. Then as he's driving away his phone rings, while he's reaching for it he hits something in the road. Exiting his vehicle he see's it's a deer, although when he re-enters and drives off the dead animal reanimates with milky white eyes.

We then cut to an office where a clearly workaholic man, one Seok-Woo is busily working away. He's a funds manager (whatever one of those is its frowned upon)stuck on what to buy Soo-an his daughter for her birthday. He even asks one of his work colleagues.
Returning home that night with a nintendo Wii, we see Soo-an already has one from someone else (possibly her mother). We also realise Seok-woo is a single parent. He asks his daughter what she really wants for her birthday, apparently to go see her mother in Busan.

He's reluctant because of work but agrees to go with her to see her mother, despite saying she'd go on her own! He is then shown a video of her singing in class, but she stops though the class still applaud her efforts.
On the way to the train station it is clear something is going down, fires in buildings and emergency services rushing about, Seok-woo even nearly crashes due to them thundering about. Though they both make it to the train station event free.

On the train we are introduced to a pregnant woman (Seong-Kyeong) and her husband (Sang Hwa), a young baseball team ( two of which are focused on boyfriend and girlfriend, Yong-guk and Jin-Hee) and finally two old women, sisters In-Gil and Jon-Gil.
Just before the train is about to depart an injured girl barges onto the train unnoticed. She quickly becomes an infected zombie thingy (though they are more like 28 days later infected), she then infects a train stewardess, who in turn starts to chow down on some of the baseball players.

All our main heroes make it into the designated train compartments, although Seok does initially lock Seong and Sang out thinking they're doomed. Sang takes to calling Seok a douche for the rest of the film now. news reports on the TV tell of riots and people breaking out into violent rampage all over the country. The conductor tells the passengers over the radio that they have been asked to not stop until they arrive in Daejeon where they will be quarantined. Seong works out that the infected are only enraged/after them if they can see them and blocks the window with wet paper.

They also find a homeless man in the toilets, before they pull into Daejeon Seok gives a guy he knows a ring asking if he can get his daughter and him to safety. The homeless man hears conformation that they can be if they meet a contact at a designated point.
Daejeon station already looks ominous as they pull into it, deserted and empty. This isn't helped any further as the rest of the station is also empty. Seok takes his daughter a different way closely followed by the homeless guy (who overheard the call).

Both groups are headed off by the infected, lots more of the nameless passengers get killed here, a few including Sang manage to close a door long enough for some survivors to make it back to the train (Sang even waits for Seok to get through the door in a role reversal).
However making it back to the train the remnants are split up between the carriages, Soo-an, Seong, Jong-Gil and the homeless guy get caught in a carriage and just about manage to barricade themselves into a bathroom. Seok, Sang and Yong in another, Jin-Hee gets to the front cabin with a host of other nameless survivors and a CEO I shall from now on call Mr dick. I call him Mr Dick as from now on he is nothing but trouble and the main cause of death for a lot of people, especially some of the main cast.

The three men battle their way towards the 4 trapped people and in doing so find out that the infected cannot see very well in low light situations, such as going through the tunnels. They rescue their loved ones and nearly make it back to the safe carriage. Unfortunately at the behest of Mr Dick the rest of the passengers have blocked the door. Yong begins to break through as Seok and Sang desperately try to stop the infected coming through a door.
The first lump in throat happens here, i for some reason got really attached to Sang-Hwa and while holding the door closed he is bitten on the hand, i felt so bad that he will not get to see his unborn child come into the world, especially since they hadn't thought of a name for it yet.
Despite this Yong breaks through the first door and while Sang courageously hold back the hordes for as long as he can before turning, Seok and Yong manage to get into the safe carriage. Unfortunately and seen by her sister Jong-Gil is also caught and infected.

Mr Dick (after Seok gives him a couple of whacks) convinces the other passengers that the people who got back might be infected and should be quarantined to the storage area just forward of the safe carriage. In-Gil upset at the death of her sister opens the door and the safe carriage is flooded with the infected who seemingly kill everyone in there.
In the toilet Seok receives a phone call from some co-worker and this is a major misstep in the movie to me. An explanation, whether he's right or not I don't know it could just crazed ramblings of a mad-man. apparently their work plants caused the outbreak, that's it though nothing else is said on the matter, i just don't think that scene was needed.

The railway to the last Busan stop is unfortunately blocked by freight cars, the driver bravely suggests that he will run and get a new train on a different line. We also now get to see that Mr Dick along with the male train orderly, escaping from the toilet Mr Dick pushes the orderly into a group of infected so he can get away quicker.
The driver finds a new train and starts it moving, just as another train on fire comes thundering up the track knocking another train over onto Soo-an, Seok, Seong and the homeless guy under a train now on it's side. Yong and Jin on the other side see no way of helping so they continue on.
Making it into another compartment of another train Yong tries to open a jammed door to the other side where the train is, unfortunately Mr Dick comes along chased by infected and throws Jin onto them. She is bitten on the leg, Mr Dick escapes opening the jammed door leaving Yong with a Jin about to change. She does change and Yong just accepts this and lets her bite him too.

The other four trapped under carriage with straining windows full of infected inches from their faces look for a way out. Seok finds a hole under the tipped carriage but not before one of the windows breaks. It's now homeless guy, who has been a bit chicken up till now chance to be brave.
He holds a good bunch of them back while Seok clears some fallen rubble. Homeless man is then piled on by loads more infected as more windows break open. The other three make it out just as the compartment falls which would have crushed them.

Mr Dick is in trouble infected nibbling at his feet so the train driver leaps from the moving train to help him only to be thrown (once again) to the mouths of hungry crazies. Mr Dick makes it to the train and starts to increase it's speed.
The other three manage to get to the speeding train and get on not before a horde of infected manage to latch themselves onto the train and get dragged along like a giant carpet of the living dead. Seok manages to break their grip and they are seemingly free.
Checking the cabin Seok see's Mr Dick who bursts from the drivers room just on the verge of turning into an infected, it seems he was bitten in the earlier scuffle. He cries about meeting his mother before going full on infected.

Seok fights him off for a little while until he's knocked back a bit and Seong gets Dick's attention by hitting him. To save her and his daughter Seok wraps a chain around his middle grabs Dick from behind where the most terrible thing happens, Mr Dick makes one more dick move, he bites Seok on the hand as he flings him and himself over the side.
Getting to safety Seok places his daughter and Seong in the drive room, tells Seong how to slow it down when they see Busan insight, then much to mass amounts crying from Soo-an and my own eyeballs he says goodbye to his daughter.
Seok goes to back of the train and slowly changing into an infected brings the memory of his daughters birth to his mind as one last thought. I had the most massive lump in my throat and tears streaming from my eyes at this, i felt like such a baby but i know what he felt being a dad myself and kudos to this film and his acting skills to elicit such emotions from me. He then leaps from the back of the train with a smile on his face.

Now there's not much left to the film but you know i don't spoil endings here, what i will say is there's still a super intense scene to come and the song Soo-an wanted to sing for her dad comes into play and almost made me weep again.
All this and the film was sub titled too!
But coupled with absolutely fantastic acting by everyone even the little girl playing Soo-an I was able to get engrossed in the film and really feel how human everyone was too.
It's been a while since a film has made me have feels like this and Train to Busan is now in my top ten zombie/infected films and wholeheartedly deserves this 5 out of 5 by THN.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Review: Critters 4 (1992)

Stars: Brad Dourif, Don Opper

Budget: Unknown

Directed By: Rupert Harvey

This is the fourth and last (thankfully) film in the critters series. It suffers from every franchise killer, no real new ideas, oh and the inevitable trip into spaaaaaaace that a lot of horror/comedy franchises seem to inevitably go.
This film is not really baaad per-say in fact it seems pretty standard run of the mill till Charlie destroys the ship midway, but that's for later.

Starting exactly where the last film ended we see charlie preparing to destroy the last two critter eggs. He is then called upon his galactic com by the bounty hunter boss.
He is apparently in violation of certain laws involved in destroying the last of a species kind. Ug appears and explains it better telling Charlie a pod is coming to collect the egg's.

Charlie isn't happy about it but agrees putting the small eggs into tin cans he sticks them into the cryogenic pod that crashes through the roof. He is to unfortunately frozen in the pod as it jettisons into space.

Later in the year of 2045 a space ship flying through space detects the pod, as a salvage ship the crew instantly think the pod may be worth some extra money. The captain is a dick (Rick), then the second in command Fran, is a very strong woman. Then there's the engineer Al Bert (Dourif), Bernie one of the ships hands and also Ethan the younger novice as such. Rick and Bernie bully Ethan quite a bit but the other two are more friendly to him.

When they realise the pod has an old marking on it of the intergalactic council, they contact the new federation who congratulate them on finding the pod and advise them to go to a nearby station to wait for them to pick up the pod, for decent compensation of course.
Rick is unhappy with this as he wanted more than what their offering but his choice to hold off for more money is other thrown by the other crew members. They reach the station but on exiting their ship realise the place is derelict and abandoned. Even the computer has seemingly gone senile.

The each discover things they're looking for such as showers with Bernie looking for the pharmacy, Al Bert also discovers the nuclear core is close to collapsing too. Fran goes for a shower where she is watched in silhouette by Rick, when he goes to give her a towel and possibly join her Fran clocks him a good right hook.
Embarrassed and realising the rest of the crew has seen what happened Rick storms off. The others just laugh it off as he storms away. He has other agendas however, taking his laser rifle to the pod chamber he burns a hole into it in an attempt to get to whats inside. Ethan catches him in the process but Rick knocks him out and hoists his unconscious body in the air.

However a puzzled thawed Charlie springs forth from the pod, seemingly unfazed by this Rick enters the pod expecting something more valuable to be inside. What he finds is freshly hatched little baby critters that proceed to leap in his mouth and bite his wrist.
All while this is happening Charlie trying to repair his super gun that has fallen apart. Finally once Rick drops dead, Charlie picks up his laser rifle and fries one of the critters hair off, possibly in an act to give the critters more character again like in the third part. Charlie gets Ethan down from the hook who quickly gets to like the crazy little man, especially when they hunt for the two little critters.

They both get trapped in the garbage disposal but escape before they are jettisoned into outer space, they are then let out of a vent by Bernie. The rest of them are a bit iffy over Charlies story even though Ethan confirms he didn't have anything to do with Ricks death and he has a driving licence from 1992.
Using a key card Ethan found in the lab coat of some scientist the crew discover the station was an experimental place for producing a terrifying killing machine out of beasts except it made them unable to reproduce. One of the Critters is watching this from the vent.

Bernie takes the card and lets himself into the pharmacy where he proceeds to fill a backpack with assorted drugs. Al notices that two life forms are making their way towards his position. He tries to warn him but they innevitably here his screams and we see him attacked by the two (now larger) fur balls.

This is where the film takes a drastic downturn for me they try to escape Charlie kills one of the critters but destroys the salvage ship in the meantime, then Ethan turns into a spoiled brat and we get a plot where the last critter uses the machine that enhances ferociousness on his kids.

Ug or he's known now as Tetra comes to the ship and kills Al after tries to stand up to him, this alienates Charlie. Especially when Tetra threatens the life of the others for the location of the remaining eggs. Ethan has however stormed off with an antique colt 44. to stop the other critter, this is where he see's it using the machine.

Ethan kills the bald headed critter with a liquid nitrogen pipe. The rest of the film is terribly uneventful now until Charlie is forced to kill Tetra in a who can pull the trigger quicker stand off, obviously Tetra has gone rusty there.
So i won't spoil any more not that there's much left to tell from here on out.
I'm not a massive fan of this last chapter in this franchise but it's better than some films of the genre and is worth watching just to finish the quadrilogy off.
THN awards Critters Four, 2 stars out of 5.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

THN Top 5: Zombie Films

Zombie flicks are one of my favourite genres, probably many peoples on how saturated the market has been since the remake of dawn of the dead and the land of the dead saw them come back hard.
I have however been interested in this genre since i was a wee lad.
The have scared me and entertained me for many years, i think the reason being out of any type of horror thing happening zombies seem the most plausible. Still far off from ever happening but still up there. Why?
Because they're here already in the ground all it take is a virus, some weird new chemical or even a type of radiation we've never encountered and bam, all those we lost come back to eat us!
Here though is a list of my favorite of these films. It's a hard list to put together because just five out of all the offerings of which a large bunch are very good offerings too is hard to whittle down, but here's my choices and they're just my choices, i'm sure yours would be different...

5. Zombi 2
Originally banned in the UK i managed to watch a bootleg version at my friends house, it does not disappoint. Everything from truly gory feasting to a zombie fighting with a shark over who gets to eat the girl!
A very good introduction to the zombie genre, it will either draw you in or scare you off.
                                                                                                                                                                 4. Zombieland
A comedy take on the genre which was big for a while mid 2000's When the zombie outbreak happens a weedy kid who makes some rules for surviving the holocaust manages to survive by sticking to his ruleset.
H begins to find that some rules can be broken for the best results. Well written and acted with a brilliant cameo from Bill Murray that will make anyone's day.

3. Dawn of the Dead Remake
Why the remake and not the original?
Simple it's much the same story with a lot more added on, more death, scarier zombies and extended living in the mall. Acting wise just as on par with the original too.
Also features faster zombie that the old 80's films too, which are also more of a threat whether you like them or hate them in zombie films.

2. Shaun of the Dead
Another comedy take of the zombie horror, except this lovely offering is twice as funny as zombieland and britis made. Meaning inventive way's to kill zombies other than guns etc.
when everything from vinyl lp's are used it's just a funny romp, especially when the main star is cult british TV legend Simon Pegg.
Also despite it being a comedy there are some truly heartfelt moments in the film along with some gore filled scenes too.

1. Return of the Living Dead
Ok this is my top of my zombie film list it's another tongue in cheek comedy horror but done very well in that the horror can at times be quite scary and the seriousness is not eclipsed by the absurd ever. Introducing us to totally invincible zombies not even brain destruction can these ones as every part of them is alive.
only true way to kill these monstrosities is total annihilation by fire, only problem is that send the zombie virus up into the atmosphere as smoke. when it rains next it infects whoever it touches then.
Another early watch for me maybe thats why i'm so biased to it perhaps?

So that's my top 5 zombie films whats yours?

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Review: Fright Night (1985)

Stars: Chris Sarandon, Roddy McDowall

Budget: $9 million

Directed by: Tom Holland

I think, but i may be wrong that this was one of the first horror movies I ever watched. It really enthralled me too, I don't know why but it just hit all the right button in young me's head.

Now going back as an adult full of nostalgia has anything changed?
I can with relief say: no not a lot.
I thoroughly enjoyed re-watching this very recently, it's so so much better than the remake too. Not that that is a bad film, it's just they are literally to me at least two different entities sharing a common theme.

This movie has some brilliantly set up pieces very stylishly done too. Such as the night club dance scene, that sticks in my head as one of the best vampire seduction moments in any vampire film i've seen since.

Made for quite a high budget and staring some reasonably big or recognizable names of the time too, such as Roddy and Chris also Amanda Bearse as Charlie's girlfriend Amy.
William Ragsdale also playing the aforementioned Charlie.

So onto the movie We meet Charlie a horror movie enthusiast canoodling and trying to get his girlfriend (Amy) to go a bit further. She's refusing it's then he notices some people moving into the house next-door, at night time. Amy gets peed off and leaves in a huff because she does give into Charlie but he's now more interested in the strange goings on with his new neighbors.

One night Charlie notices Jerry in a window seducing a beautiful woman, being a randy little teen he's getting all excited when Dandrige fangs up and is about to feast on the woman. Gasping and ducking back behind his window ledge, Jerry seems to notice and closes the blinds.
In school it's shown the woman has gone missing, Charlie tries to confide in his friend Evil Ed, he just ultimately takes the piss out of him, we do get a vibe here that Ed is a bit of a low life.

Charlie tries to find out on his own by taking the police over there, explaining he saw the girl there. Jerry's house keeper Billy Cole explains Jerry has been out of town, Charlie blurts out that he believes Jerry is a vampire and the whole thing goes out of the window when Billy pokes fun at this idea. Charlie and the detective leave and he is scolded for wasting police time.

Having been told Jerry can't get him unless the master of the house invites him in Charlie is horrified to find his mother has invited Jerry over, He states he'll be seeing Charlie very soon. Then later on that night Jerry breaks into Charlies room threatening him with death if he doesn't forget about what he saw. When charlie fights back with a crucifix Jerry almost kills him by throwing him from his window, only a pencil stabbed into his hand and Charlies mother shouting scares him off. He does however destroy Charlies car in anger stating he'll do worse to him.

Charlie tries to get help from Peter Vincent a washed up actor who is reduced to introducing horror films shown later at night. He instantly dismisses Charlies rantings only untill Charlie offers him a substantial amount of money just to come and try some tests on Jerry. He finally agrees to it and they go to Jerry's house to give him some tests.

Giving Jerry what Charlie believes is holy water (it's just tap water) he swigs it down no problems, this makes Charlie doubt himself. That is until Vincent uses his cigarette case and notices Jerry has no reflection, dropping the mirror to the floor with a gasp. He makes his excuses and tries to leave as quick as possible.

Charlie notices this and cajoles Vincent into saying what was wrong, he tells Charlie about the lack of reflection but he can't trust it wasn't some other reason. Charlie gets a bit angry at Vincent but the aging actor wants no more to do with it.
Jerry learns the actor had seen what he seen in the mirror and decides enough is enough. He tracks down Charlies friend Ed and turns him into a vampire. Ed then gets sent to take care of Vincent while Jerry goes after Charlie and Amy.

Vincent manages to fight Ed off with a crucifix and decides it's time to get out of town. However Charlie and Amy are chased by Dandrige into a club Charlie tries to call for help but Jerry uses his vampire powers to hypnotize Amy in an exotic dance, she notices he is vampire but is powerless to resist his charms. He takes her back to his home and even though she tries to refuse, Amy is powerless to resist his charms and she is bitten by Jerry.

Charlie heads once more for Vincent's place, he's placed many crosses about and still refuses to help Charlie against Jerry. After a pep talk from Charlie about being a fearless vampire killer, he decides to help. They rush to Charlies house and manage to actually repel Jerry back to his own as Charlie actually feel the faith this time. Chasing him back they are then attacked by Billy who knocks Charlie out. Causing Vincent to run off in fear to Charlies house again.

In Charlies house Vincent is attacked by Evil Ed once more, Ed fully transforms into a wolf. Vincent manages to beat him with a stake, causing a most feeble death on Ed's turn. Charlie awakens in the room with Amy, who is slowly turning into a vampire. He is rescued by Vincent and told they can reverse the effects if they kill Jerry before dawn.
Once more they are attacked by Billy, after Vincent believing he just a normal human shots him in the head. He does indeed fall down dead, however Dandrige mutters some words and he resurrects Billy from the dead. Vincent unloads the pistol into him with no effect, he is finally stopped when Charlie thrusts a stake into his heart. Billy however dies in a very strange way, he seems to melt into a strange green goo, I still to this day have no idea what Jerry calls him or what Billy is.

They then head down to the basement to take on Jerry once and for all.
That's where is stop and not spoil the ending, though i'm sure it's probably obvious by this point what happens. This is by no means a perfect film and the effects especially the full facial masks are a bit aged now, this however doesn't detract from a very very good vampire film. Better than all this glowing diamond skinned bull crap we get these days.

THN awards this corker of a vamp (Vamp hehehe we'll get to that) film 4 stars out of 5.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Review: Critters 3 (1991)

Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Don Opper

Budget: Unknown

Directed By: Kristine Peterson

The third in the series in the critters franchise, a funny little series riding high on the small creatures horrors popular in the mid 80's to early nineties.

Unfortunately this one starts to show some cracks that culminate in the fourth film, but that's for a later date.
This is also Leonardo DiCaprio's first film, Don Opper also returns as the village idiot/drunk turned inept bounty hunter.

The story also moves from Grovers Bend to a city apartment building, whether this was a money saving action I don't know as i couldn't find the budget for this film. What I do know is I suspect the budget was saved for the fourth film as they were filmed back to back.

So the film opens up with a down on his luck father driving with his two kids in a small old mobile home. when they get a sudden flat they pull into a seemingly low populated car park to fix the wheel. The girl Annie goes to get a drink and her brother Johnny goes off playing with a Frisbee. Johnny happens to go too close to a high drop to which Josh (DiCaprio) stops him, Annie catches the brunt end of this thinking Josh is bullying Johnny.

Josh however explains his way out of it, especially when Johnny asks him to come play frisbee with them. Unfortunately Josh throws it a bit to far into the woods, He bravely scrambles down the incline to retrieve the disc. The other kids follow and just as he spies the Frisbee Josh goes to grab it and with a spring low and behold Charlie pops out of a hidden hole.4
He warns the kids about monsters then tells them the story of Grovers Bend, they of course don't believe him except for Johnny. Charlie gives Johnny a crystal that will glow green if any danger is near him, he thanks him and runs off.

Back at the car park Annie's dad has fixed the wheel we've also been introduced to Josh's step dad who is a bit of dick, well quite a big dick actually. Relieved to be leaving him behind they drive back to their apartment building. On the way out of the park Annie see's the sign for Grover's Bend, she still shakes her head in disbelief.

Unknown to them some Critter has laid eggs under the wheel arch and are coming along for the trip too. The little creatures hatch and escape in to the buildings basement as the truck with it's brakes broken bashes into another vehicle. Johnny's crystal begins to glow green, only he seems to realise this.

The little critters run havoc in the apartment building just as you'd expect them too, first killing the buildings foreman (who is a dick and trying to get people to move out anyway). They actually do not kill many people in this film, which is one of the one of the downsides, this film becomes more of a comedy than a horror. It also tries to give some of the critters a personality or uniqueness.
One of them ends up with some bleached hair and skin on the one side of its face after being burnt by some cleaning products.

We learn Joshes dad owns the apartment and was trying to get the residents to leave for some scam or other, the foreman was in on it and when he doesn't reply he ends up going to the building with Josh to see whats going on. He of course goes the way of arseholes in horror movies and dies.
One of the critters earlier killed by a flare has set the bottom of the building on fire too, trying to escape both the little demons and the fire all the survivors make their way to the roof. Annie finds herself on the bottom floor surrounded by the little demons. Suddenly out of no where, yes literally for no reason Charlie comes to save the day.

now usually i'd end it here because there's not much left of the film. But i usually only spoil bad films right?
Well critters 3 is not BAD per-say but it's not the best and it suffers from bad pacing and going to far in the comedy direction, you don't feel scared of the critters as you do in the past two films, they seem almost jovial and funny in this. It is a 'decent' sequel in a dying series i suppose and i would say as a whole the entire series is worth watching.

So Charlie literally makes fast work of the remaining Critters and while the rest of the apartments members are outside being treated and offered a deal by Joshes mum, Charlie comes across two remaining eggs. He is about to destroy them when he is contacted by the high command, in fact it's Ug he tells Charlies it's illegal to kill the last two eggs as they are the last two specimens of the Crite species. He doesn't know what to do with them when suddenly a pod crashes through the ceiling and the movie suddenly ends.

So that's where part four takes off right away THN enjoys a good franchise flick and even though we are giving this one only a 2 out of 5 we still recommend a watch especially if your into full series's of films, even the next one. that goes where all franchises take a dable in at some point, SPACE.
Good bye folks see you all again!