Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Monster of Piedras Blancas

Director - Irvin Berwick (Malibu High, Hitch Hike to Hell)
Starring - Les Tremayne (Adventures of the Gummi Bears, The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo), Forrest Lewis (The Munsters, Son of Flubber), and John Harmon (Microwave Massacre, The Unholy Rollers)
Release Date - 1959
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "The field that walks lover's beach"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
   I love living in the era that I do.  I love the technological advancements we currently have and I love the giant steps we are making for social injustices but I do wish I had lived during the drive-in era.  Watching all those copy cat invasion films, creature features, and so on.  One of the hundreds of monster I had always heard about but never had the opportunity to watch is the 1959 film Monster of Piedras Blancas.  The film was released by Olive Films sometime ago on blu.  I requested a review copy and was told I would get it but when it failed to show I broke down and bought a copy just because I had always wanted to check it out.
     The film follows a sleepy coastal town that is now plagued with a series of murders.  One of the locals believes that it is the legend of the monster of Piedras Blancas which involves a murderous sea creature that inhabited the land before it was settled.  When he is murdered the locals start investigating and learn that the monster is real and the lighthouse caretaker had been keeping him at bay with meat scraps.  When he failed to feed the beast it goes on a bloody rampage killing everyone it comes in contact with.
     I wasn't expecting a lot from the film but I was looking forward to some cheesy monster fun.  For the most part, the film delivers on the cheese and camp I was looking for but it was a bit of a slow burn.  The acting for this one is very out of place at times and over sold at others.  I felt like I was watching a film consisting of a cast made up of 80s professional wrestlers.  They over sold certain scenes and underplayed the important ones.  I would honestly say this was due to direction but it only added to the monster movie charm.  The story for this one is very simple, straight forward, and campy.  The film doesn't try to stand out from the crowd but deliver the same monster movie tale told over and over again with a new monster.  The creature feature was in full effect by 1959 and they only wanted to cash in on the fad.  The story does get stale at times but the overall all delivery is still entertaining.  Finally, the film is not a bloody bath most would expect from a monster movie.  The creature looks horrible but that is what makes this film so much fun.  We do get a death scene here and there but they are boring for the most part with very cheap effects.  Overall, Monster of Piedras Blancas is a drive-in classic.  If you can't watch the movie in a drive-in setting then it is perfect to watch with friends with some booze and maybe a fully packed bongs.  Check it out.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Special Effects

Director - Larry Cohen (It's Alive, Full Moon High)
Starring - Zoe Lund (Ms. 45, Hand Gun), Eric Bogosian (Beavis and Butthead Do America, The Stuff), and Brad Rijn (A Return to Salem's Lot, The Stuff)
Release Date - 1984
Genre - Horror/Thriller
Tagline - "A shocking, sensual thriller"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     Larry Cohen, just like David Cronenberg, is a very underrated director.  His career has spawned 4 decades and pumped out some memorable cult classics like It's Alive, Q, The Stuff, and A Return to Salem's Lot.  His career has been pretty impressive but there are several films of his that goes unnoticed.  One film in particular is the 1984 horror/thriller Special Effects.  This is one I've heard a few of the older horror fans talk about but I had no idea it was actually a Larry Cohen film.  Sometime ago Olive Films released Special Effects on bluray.  I reached out to them and they were kind enough to send one my way.  Thanks guys!
     The film follows abandoned father Keefe (Rijn) who visits New York to find his wife and bring her back home to be with their son.  He is able to track her down and he holds her against her will until she is able to escape.  She flees across town and tries to meet a famous director that recently had a falling out with Hollywood and succeeds.  He invites her up to his room and makes love to her before killing her on while secretly recording the affair.  Keefe is arrested for the crime but the director uses his influence to get him released and stages to film around her actual murder but as the film continues shooting Keefe gets closer and closer to the real answer as to how his wife actually died.
     I knew this film would be more dark thriller than horror.  The artwork painted that picture clearly but I was expecting a little more in the ways of kills and special effects considering that is the film's name.  It doesn't make this film a bad film but was a little misleading.  The acting in this one is fantastic.  I'm not that familiar with Eric Bogosian but he was phenomenal in this film.  There was a few scenes where he truly came across a maniacal.  I loved that.  Very few actors could pull that off.   Brad Rijn was great as well.  You could really feel the love he has for his estranged wife and child.  The supporting cast is solid as well making this a very well rounded film.  The story for this one I could easily see as being inspired by an erotic romance novel.  It starts out strong, throws a few turns your way, and ends right where you want it to.  I really enjoyed it and thought it was very well written.  Finally, this one has a few on screen kills but they are extremely lackluster and forgettable.  The effects for these are non-existent which takes a lot of points away from the overall film.  I understand why the film has the name Special Effects but the fact there is none in the film somewhat pisses me off.  Overall, Special Effects is not a bloody flick but it is story rich and has an amazing cast.  If you are wanting something story driven with no blood then I would recommend this one.  Check it out.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Dead Silence

Director - Hugh Gallagher (Gorotica, Gore Whore)
Starring - Brad Foltz, Kevin Patterson (Gorgasm), and Cindy Weichbrodt 
Release Date - 1987
Genre - Horror
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     S.O.V. horror has it's own fan base.  Most horror fans shy away from these films because want a horror film that is more polished with the best effects they can find with the best cast possible.  S.O.V. is the furthest from this.  These films have virtually no budgets with amateur casts and cheap special effects.  I've seen some fun S.O.V. films over the years and I've seen some pretty rotten ones.  After I watched the last film I needed in the Hugh Gallagher Gore Trilogy I decided to follow that up with another Gallagher S.O.V. horror flick, Dead Silence.  Now, this is one that I've actually seen before many, many years ago.  I can't remember the how or the when but I have seen it before.  I believe that I may have rented it a time or two from the local Ma and Pop video store.  I want to thank SRS Cinema and MVD for sending this my way.
     The film begins with mass murder Sam Mason being executed for the atrocities he committed but his story doesn't end there.  One of his victims, Terri, doesn't believe she is given a second chance to live but a chance to respect death for what it is.  She soon finds herself toe to toe with Sam Mason one more time and this time he wants to settle the score with his one time would be victim.

I can remember watching this one at my home with my brother one weekend after renting this and White Men Can't Jump.  I remember I had to rent White Men Can't Jump because it was my brother's favorite movie and I thought Dead Silence looked fun.  Sadly, I can't remember if I liked it then but I did not enjoy myself with it now.  The acting in this one is rough.  All of the characters are generic with the exception of Sam Mason (Brad Foltz) who plays an exceptional slasher.  The rest of the cast just goes through their lines with no attempt at creating a memorable performance.  I chalk it up to no experience and lack of direction.  The story for this one is actually pretty fucking clever.  I really enjoyed the white noise on the graves of those that died a violent death.  This was something a little different.  Sadly, the story doesn't really have enough to push it to feature length running time.  We have a lot of filler scenes that are painfully boring.  At best, the film should have been about 30 minutes.  Finally, this one is not as violent as the other Gallagher films.  The kills we get are very mild in comparison and the effects are just as cheap as any other S.O.V. film.  Overall, Dead Silence is one of the weaker Gallagher S.O.V. horror films.  It is easily forgettable.  For collectors it is a must have but for the standard horror fan it is easy to pass up.

Sunday, June 25, 2017


Director - Hugh Gallagher (Gore Whore, Gorotica)
Starring - Gabriela (Anal-Sperm Power, Barefoot Confidential 8), Rik Billock (The Barn, The Dark Half), and Paula Hendricks
Release Date - 1990
Genre - Horror
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     I didn't really know what I wanted to follow the RoboCop trilogy up with but I knew that I wanted it to be filthy and bloody.  I had a lot of films to pick from in my collection that I needed to review but I decided to go with some S.O.V. fun.  I really needed some sleazy action and cheap effects.  I had a few to to pick from and most were from my friends over at SRS Cinema.  Last year they released the two Hugh Gallagher films Gore Whore and Gorotica.  Both films had their moments and were part of Gallagher's Gore Trilogy.  Recently, SRS Cinema released the first film in the trilogy, Gorgasm.  This 1990 S.O.V. classic is a staple among the VHS collector groups on FB where it fetches a pretty penny.  I want to thank SRS Cinema and MVD for sending this one my way.  I really appreciate it.
     The film follows Chase (Billock) who is a wannabe detective tasked with investigating a series of murders involving BDSM.  His investigation takes him down the road of rough sex, torture, and the "ultimate climax" when he comes across an add in a bondage magazine.  When he follows up with the lead he meets a beautiful call girl who is offering mean the best orgasm of their a very expensive cost.

       The other two films in Gallagher's trilogy had potential and had some fun moments but had some rough spots.  I wasn't expecting much from Gorgasm but it still offered up some entertaining moments.  The acting in this one was surprisingly good.  Rik Billock was pretty damn good.  He was a strong lead and took control of every scene he was in.  Gabriela is extremely fucking sexy and great in her role as well.  She was great to look at and came across as extremely crazy which made it fun.  The supporting cast is decent as well making it one of the better acted films in the trilogy.  The story for this one is right at home with the rest of the trilogy.  Sex, blood, gore, and nudity is what makes these films so much fun and this one is no different.  In fact, this one is what set the trend for the following films.  The story itself doesn't really have enough to actually meet the film's run time which results in several dry scenes that try the viewers patience.  Personally, I feel the film would benefit from having about 30 minutes cut from it.  Finally, the film does have a few on screen kills that use a lot of classic camera tricks and movie magic along with some decent practical effects.  The kills are not that impressive and neither is the gore and we can blame the film's budget for that.  Overall, Gorgasm is a must for any fan for S.O.V. horror but the pop horror fan will not be impressed.  Check it out.

Friday, June 23, 2017

RoboCop 3

Director - Fred Dekker (Night of the Creeps, The Monster Squad)
Starring - Robert John Burke (Witchblade, Nightmare Weekend), Remy Ryan (Beauty and the Beast, The Shield), and Nancy Allen (Carrie, RoboCop)
Release Date - 1993
Genre - Action/Sci-Fi
Tagline - "He's back.  Back online. Back on duty"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     I was an avid RoboCop fan when I was younger.  I could never deny my love for that film.  The sequel was never a top priority for me but after revisiting it years later I can really appreciate the movie.  Sadly, part 3 was never one I could get into.  It just didn't feel like a RoboCop film when Peter Weller's name was absent from the cast and crew.  To me he was RoboCop.  I also found it strange that the film didn't have the charm that director Fred Dekker was known for.  His films Night of the Creeps and The Monster Squad of two of my favorite films and saying I don't like a Dekker flick really upsets me.  RoboCop 3 was recently released by Scream Factory in conjunction with RoboCop 2.  I thought that I could at least revisit it and see if I could appreciate it as a film like I did RoboCop 3.  Thank you Scream Factory for sending it my way!
     The film picks up after the events of the last film.  OCP has went belly up and a Japanese company has took over.  They plan on evicting people out of certain parts of Old Detroit so they can rebuild the city.  The bring in rehabilitation teams to relocate the citizens of Detroit but many or forcefully removed or murdered.  A rebellion breaks out and when RoboCop and his partner Officer Lewis see how wrong this is they join the rebellion.  With RoboCop going awol the Japanese company sends in a robotic samurai to bring him back and help move the replacement of the people along.  RoboCop and a rogue scientist must work with the rebellion to stop the evil corporation.
     The first two Robocop films are essential for any movie fan regardless of what genre you favor.  They have action, science fiction elements, gore, and so much more to offer so it is not surprise that a third film was produced.  Sadly, it feels as if the studio had more of a say in the film than the director did because this one is nothing like the other two films.  The acting in this one is good.  It is the same quality of acting as the other two entries.  The films surprise star is Remy Ryan who does an outstanding job considering her age.  I'm honestly shocked we haven't heard more from her as her career moved forward.  We also get another great performance from CCH Pounder who has had one hell of a career.  She does a great job and showed why she was cast.  Other than that, no one else really stands out.  The cast isn't bad but they all do an outstanding job.  No one really outshines the others.  The story for this one takes what was established in the other two films but instead of making it more grounded and down to Earth the story flips it around and makes it very absurd.  The robot samurai could have been pretty fucking epic but the film fails to follow through with the story we are given.  The film lays a lot of interesting ideas down for the viewer but fails to properly follow through with them.  This makes the film feel cheaper and lacking.  Finally, this one is not a bloodfest like the first film.  The film does have a few on screen kills and a few funny deaths but that is it.   The practical effects for these kills are great along with the samurai robots but some scenes are supplemented  with some pretty bad visual effects.  Overall, RoboCop 3 does not go the distance.  The film feels cheap and it is obvious that director Fred Dekker had this one walked out from underneath him.

RoboCop 2

Director - Irvin Kershner (Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back, Amazing Stories)
Starring - Peter Weller (Dexter, Naked Lunch), Belinda Bauer (Necronomicon: Book of Dead, Flashdance), and John Glover (Brimstone, In the Mouth of Madness)
Release Date - 1990
Genre - Action/Sci-Fi/Crime
Tagline - "Even in the future of law enforcement there is room for improvement"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     RobocCop 2 is one of those film I like but I never watch it.  I've seen hundreds of films over my lifetime that I watch regularly but for some unknown reason Robocop 2 is a movie I enjoy but I'm never in the mood to watch it.  The first film is among one of my favorite films that I try to watch when I don't have a back catalogue of films to review.  Not long ago my friends over at Scream Factory released the film on blu.  I was excited but was a little disappointed that we didn't get the first film from them as well.  I never look into who owns the rights to what film so I know it was a legal situation as to why they didn't release the first film but the release gave me the perfect reason to watch the first film and revisit this one after all these years.  Thank you Scream Factory for sending it my way!
     The film once again follows Officer Murphy, aka RoboCop, who is trying his best to clean up Old Detroit.  A new drug is taking over the streets known as Nuke and is being made and distributed by crime kingpin Kane (Tom Noonan).  His creators, OCP, are working on a new and improved RoboCop and when Murphy brings down Kane they are able to get their hands on his brain which is still addicted to Nuke.  He does OCP's dirty work but when he is presented with an opportunity for Nuke he turns on his creators forcing the original RoboCop to stop him.

     I watched Robocop 2 several times over the years but never really liked it like I should.  Now, where I'm a lot older I actually appreciate it as a sequel a lot more than I did.  The film is not as good as the original but it should not be ignored.  The acting in this one is great.  Once again Peter Weller delivers a great performance as RoboCop.  He does a great job at seeming emotionless and calculated which is what really makes Robocop so much fun.  I really enjoy watching his inner turmoil as he learns what it means to be a human again.  I really enjoyed Tom Noonan's performance.  Most horror fans known him as Frankenstein's Monster in The Monster Squad.  He is an amazing actor and sadly, that film does not showcase his on camera abilities.  RoboCop 2 does just that and shows how talented Noonan really is.  On a side note, if you want to be really disgusted and terrified look for Noonan in the Law and Order: Special Victim's Unit episode Confession.  One of his best performances yet.   The supporting cast is great as well which really helps sale a story we pretty much got in the first film.  The story is more or less the same as what we got in the first film except the bad robot at the end has a backstory.  It is a lot more real and down to Earth than the first film especially after adding the drug angle.  It makes it a little more real and a lot easier to follow.  Some of the characters are poorly written or don't need to be there at all but the overall film is written very well.  Finally, this one has a few on screen kills but no where near the gore the first film has.  The effects are great.  We get a lot of practical effects and few computer generated but these were few and far in between.  The biggest disappointment is the lack of blood and imagination when it comes to the kills.  Overall, RoboCop 2 is a very worth sequel to one of my favorite 80s films.  It may not be horror but horror fans can greatly appreciate the film for what it is.  Check it out if you haven't.