Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Reflecting Skin

Director - Philip Ridley (Heartless)
Starring - Viggo Mortensen (Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III), Lindsay Duncan (Doctor Who), and Jeremy Cooper (Torture by Hope)
Release Date - 1990
Genre - Horror/Drama
Tagline - "Sometimes terrible things happen quite naturally"
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Midnight Horror Collection: 8 Films)

Rating (Out of 5):

     A few weeks ago I picked up another Midnight Horror Collection from Wal-Mart for $5.  The main reason I picked up this 8 film set was for The Office Killer.  Like most of these $5 DVD sets from Wal-Mart, a majority of of the films are shitty.  After watching The Office Killer I noticed another film on the set titled The Reflecting Skin.  The poster on the DVD stated that this was the first time it was released on DVD and it also starred Viggo Mortenson.  Like most movie junkies, I was intrigued by this.  I looked around the web for reviews of the film.  Most of the reviews I found favored the film, which only fueled my desire to watch it.  After watch a few Christmas films, I decided to bust it out and give it a go.
       The film follows a young boy, Seth Dove (Cooper), who is growing up in the 50's.  Seth lives with his mother and father while his older brother is over seas.  His brother joined the military in order to escape his life with his parents.  Seth is a devious young boy and loves to terrorize the local English woman.  One day, Seth finds his father reading a book.  Interested in what his father is reading, he asks.  His dad tells him the book is about vampires.  Seth then becomes obsessed with the thought that the English woman is a vampire.  After making a toad explode on the English woman, Seth's mother makes him go to her home and apologize to her.  While in her home, the woman tells Seth that she is 200 years old and that her now deceased husband helped make her young.  This only solidifies his theory of her being a vampire.  Not long after Seth starts having his suspicions about the English woman, a young boy is found dead in his father's well.  The police suspect his father is behind his murder because he once kissed another man when he was younger and because of this, they think he is a child molester and killer.  His father, feeling guilty for kissing that other man, dowses himself in gas and strikes a match.  Hearing of his father's death, Cameron (Mortenson) rushes home to be with his family.  While home, Cameron falls in love with the English woman.  Fearing for his brother's life, Seth tries to warn him about the English woman and fails.  As Seth is trying to save his brother from the English woman, another boy is abducted by a gang of greasers.  The locals think that it is Seth and his family due to his father's past.  As Seth frets over his brother's welfare, the English woman hitches a ride in to town with the greasers and is then found dead on the side of the road.
     This is one of those films you've got to watch multiple times to completely grasp what is going on.  I watched this movie twice and it still feels like I missed something.  The acting is actually really good.  The film is billed as starring Mortenson, however, he only appears in the second half of the film.  This movie does not have on screen kills, death, blood or gore, and therefore, skips on the special effects.  As for the story, it is original, however, it is hard to follow and some things I could not make sense of.  The whole greasers aspect of the film just randomly happens with no explanation of who they are and why they are killing and abducting people.  Also, there is a small fetus that Seth finds in some hay.  In the film, Seth says that the fetus is the dead boy who is now an angel that had his wings removed because he was murdered.  I think there is another reason for the fetus and that is just the mind of a small boy talking.  I watched the film twice to see if I could discover who the greasers are and where the fetus came from but did not.  If you have seen this movie and know the answers to this then please let me know because I feel lost.  The only explanation that I can think of is these things are happening in the young boy's imagination.  If this is the case then this movie sucks.  I will eventually watch this again sometime in the near future to see if I can make any sense out of these.  I also want to make note of the scenery in the film.  The imagery in this film is beautiful.  Even though the DVD transfer is piss poor, the imagery is still nice to look at.  This film works more as a drama than a horror flick, especially because the entire "vampire" aspect of the film is a "what if" scenario.  Overall, if your looking for something to waste time with, then this movie is an o.k. watch, however, I can recommend better films.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Munsters' Scary Little Christmas

Director - Ian Emes (Deadly Summer)
Starring - Sam McMurray (C.H.U.D.), Ann Magnuson (Small Soldiers), and Bug Hall (Little Rascals)
Release Date - 1996
Genre - Comedy/Children's
Tagline - "If you think your family is weird...spend this Christmas with the Munsters"
Format - DVD (Borrowed)

Rating (out of 5):

     Even though Christmas has passed, the month of December is still here and because of this I have to deliver more Christmas themed films.  One of my favorite shows when I was little was The Munsters.  I loved watching this show late at night.  A few years ago when the entire show, along with all the tie in movies, was released on DVD, a friend of mine bought them all.  Being the cheap fuck I am, I borrowed all those DVDs and watched the shit out of them.  I loved them all except for one.  That film was The Munsters' Scary Little Christmas.  As time dragged on, I forgot more and more about it.  As Christmas approached, I had noticed I watch way too many horror films for this time of year and wanted to switch it up.  I decided to give this flick another chance...just for the holidays.
     Herman, Lily, and Grandpa have a problem.  Ever sense they moved to California from Transylvania, Eddie has been home sick.  As the holidays approach, Eddie is not in the holiday spirit so his family set to fix their own way.  Herman believes that in order to give Eddie a great Christmas he will need to buy him a torture play-set.  However, he does not have the movie to buy the play-set.  Herman ties to make some quick cash by taking  on odd jobs and giving blood.  Lily, on the other hand, believes what Eddie needs is family involvement.  Her and Eddie decorate the house as part of a contest.  When the pair complete their decorating, Eddie still does not fill the Christmas spirit.  Grandpa, Europe's Greatest Alchemist, tries to make a potion to bring the glum out of Eddie, but fails.  Instead, his potion brings Santa and two naughty elves away from the North Pole where they were frantically trying to prepare for Christmas.  As Santa and Grandpa try to find a way to get Santa back to the North Pole before Christmas, the elves have other plans.  The elves trick Santa in to drinking a potion that turns him in to a giant fruitcake.  They then crash Grandpa's lab and head off to a biker bar.  Grandpa, feeling like shit because he screwed up, runs to his coffin and cries like a baby.  After Lily, Marilyn, Herman, and Eddie discover what had happened, the rush off to find the Elves and create the correct potion to restore Santa back to his jolly form.  Santa then uses bikers to pull his slay and rushes back to the North Pole to prepare for Christmas.  After all this unfolds, Eddie finally appreciates Christmas and having a wonderful family.
     I really wanted to like this movie, but it did not give me the chance to do just that.  The acting is great and the actors were able to bring the personalities of the original characters to life.  However, it is just not the same without the original cast.  Unlike the two Addams Family films from the 90s, those films were outstanding films with a whole new cast.  There was another made for television film, called Here Comes the Munsters', made a few years before this one.  That film, too, used a different cast and from what I gather was a huge disappointment among fans.  This movie was aimed for children and had that 50's and 60's sitcom feel but it just did not work with today's audience.  The story worked well for a children's story but does not play out that well on film.  With the story, I personally think the film would have worked better if it was a half hour special.  The special effects were also decent and the movie felt just like an episode of the show, minus the original cast.  If your looking for a film to watch during your holidays, then I suggest grabbing something else because this film is just a result of Hollywood milking a dead cow.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Santa's Slay

Director - David Steiman
Starring - Bill Goldberg (Ready to Rumble), Douglas Smith (Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters), and Emilie de Ravin (The Hills Have Eyes)
Release Date - 2005
Genre - Horror/Comedy
Tagline - "Spreading holiday fear this season" and "He's making a list...pray your not on it"
Format - VHS (Personal Collection) (Still from Youtube)

Rating (Out of 5):

     The Christmas after I graduated high school I started seeing tv spots for an upcoming Christmas themed horror flick starring Bill Goldberg.  What horror fan would not want to see this?  At this point I had a very decent DVD collection but I would still record television specials on VHS until they were released on DVD.  So the night this premiered, I put in a blank VHS and recorded it.  I know, I'm a horrible person and your going to report me to Lars Ulrich.  Anyway, I recorded this with the intention of ordering it on DVD.  Well, every year I forget to order it and would have to settle with watching my shitty VHS copy of the film.  Ever since that first Christmas when this horrible film premiered, I have watched it.  It has became a holiday tradition of mine to watch this and A Charlie Brown Christmas.  I know both films are polar opposites but I love them both.
     The film follows Nicolas (Smith), who lives with his eccentric grandfather.  His grandfather does not celebrate Christmas and the local community call him crazy.  Due to is grandfather's lack of holiday spirit, Nicolas has grown up never getting the gifts he has written to Santa for and is now the same as his grandfather in regards to the holiday.  Nicolas' friend, Mac (Ravin) has a crush on him and tries to help him find the holiday spirit.  Nicolas asks his grandfather why he does not celebrate the holiday.   His grandfather removes an ancient book from the safe in his bedroom and Nicolas is able to read it.  Within the book Nicolas discovers that Santa is actually the spawn of Satan.  A 1000 years earlier, an angel took human form and placed a bet with Santa.  Santa lost and had to deliver presents to the good children of the world for 1000 years instead of killing them.  This just happens to be the 1000th year and Santa is free to kill at will.  Santa arrives in Nicolas' town and lays waste to those that have been naughty.  Santa makes his way to Nicolas' home and his grandfather is killed.  Nicolas and Mac run for it on snowmobiles with Santa on their tail.  The two seek refuge in a school but Santa only follows them.  When they make their way to the ice rink, Nicolas' grandfather reappears and we discover he was the angel that tricked Santa in to losing the bet.  Santa throws grandpa in to a hole to hell and chase Nicolas and Mac around some more.  However, after it hits midnight in the North Pole, Santa loses all his powers.  As he flies overhead, Mac's father, who is a gun enthusiast, shoots him down with a bazooka.  We then jump to Santa, now dressed as a biker, boarding an airplane to the North Pole.      
     I love this film.  I know this movie catches hell for being shit, but for what it is, it is a truly entertaining film.  I know this movie is horrible but what did you expect from a film where Bill Goldberg is Santa?  The story is absurd and the acting is a little on the bad side.  Most of the cast did go on to have a decent career in Hollywood, however, the acting is still bad.  The special effects are good though.  This movie does dish out some great holiday themed kills.  That is the main reason I love this movie so much.  The kills are great and when mixed with the comedy and the absurd story surprisingly make an entertaining film.  This movie does provide a lot of laughs.  The film is also educational.  Who knew stripper poles could be a breeding ground for germs...not this guy.  This movie should be watched with an open mind, if you do so then you will enjoy every minute of it.  Who wouldn't want to see Fran Drescher with her head on fire?  I'm not going to go too in depth with this film but I highly recommend this one.  You may not be scared by it but you will laugh your ass off.      

Monday, December 24, 2012

Black Christmas

aka Silent Night, Evil Night

Director - Bob Clark (Porky's and A Christmas Story)
Starring - Olivia Hussey (Stephen King's It), Keir Dullea (BrainWaves), and Margot Kidder (Superman)
Release Date - 1974
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "If this picture doesn't make your skin's on too tight"
Format - VHS (Personal Collection) (Stills from Youtube)

Rating (out of 5):

     A few years back I grabbed the American remake of Pulse on DVD at Wal-Mart and it came with a free copy of Black X-Mas.  Of course I watched that incredibly horrible remake.  I had never seen the original before this but I wondered if it was as shitty as the remake.  I never really heard anything about the original except it was directed by the same director as A Christmas Story and Porky's.  Being a fan of both films I headed over to ebay and got it on VHS.  I left it on my shelf for a few years until this time last year.  I wanted to review it for the blog I had prior to this one and finally watched it.  The first time I saw it I instantly rewound it and gave it another watch.  I loved it.  As Christmas slowly approached this year I waited patiently for a chance to watch this and another crappy film I love, Santa's Slay.   
     The film follows a group of sorority sisters, and their den mother, as they prepare for the holidays.  Most of the girls in the sorority house have gone home for Christmas except for a select few.  The girls start receiving obscene phone calls.  The calls sound like more than one person is on the line.  The girls don't pay any attention to the calls except for Jess (Hussey).  After one of the girls fails to meet her father, they go to the police to report her missing.  The police pull together a team of people to perform a man hunt for the young girl.  During the man hunt, the police stumble across the dead body of a child.  Jess, knowing that something bad has happened to her sorority sister, allow the police to wire tap their phones to see if there is a connection with the missing girl and the phone calls.  Jess is also pregnant and told the baby's daddy that she was getting rid of it.  He calls the home later that evening crying and begging her not to kill the baby.  The police start to suspect that it is him making the phone calls and possibly responsible for the girls disappearance.  After tapping the phones the police discover that the calls are actually coming from within the house.  The police tell Jess this in order to get  her to leave the home, but she doesn't.  She heads upstairs to check on her two sorority sisters and discovers them dead.  The killer then attacks her and she fights her way out and makes her way to the basement.  Her baby's daddy busts through the glass to the basement and lets himself in.  As he approaches her, she does not respond to his questions.  Moments later the police arrive and find her in shock holding his dead body.  The police then assume he was the killer and take his body away.  They take her to her room and heavily medicate her.  They then leave and we start hearing the same voices from the phone calls coming from the attic.   
     This is the kind of film that you like more with each viewing.  This movie set the standard for the 80's slasher boom and inspired John Carpenter's 1978 classic, Halloween.  The acting is decent when compared to the slasher films that followed.  Margot Kidder's character is shocking after growing up with the Christopher Reeve's Superman series and seeing her as the innocent Lois Lane.  Seeing Lois Lane talk about fellatio made me look at her in a whole new light.  As for the special effects, the film does not offer much in that aspect.  This film does not offer much in the blood and gore department but does deliver some decent kills.  Most of the kills are done off camera or through a glare and this is a little disappointing.  I would really like this movie a lot more if there was some blood and gore, or at least some on camera kills.  My biggest gripe with this film is the ending.  The killer is never revealed and we have no idea who that is speaking in the attic.  A better ending and some on screen kills would have made this movie a lot better, however, this film is still a great watch.  I definitely recommend adding this to your holiday movie list.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

VHS/DVD/BluRay Update 12/23/12

Most collectors like to post videos on youtube about their recent purchases, however, I hate making videos of myself.  So I decided to start making posts every week or so showcasing all of my new buys.  I got the VHS at Goodwill and the rest I grabbed at Wal-Mart and FYE.  I wanted to post this update because I will have a bigger one from Christmas.