Movie Review: Mr. Sardonicus

(1961)
Directed by William Castle
Starring Guy Rolfe, Ronald Lewis, Oscar Homolka, Audrey Dalton, Vladimir Sokoloff, Erika Peters.

The groundbreaking doctor Sir Robert, specializing in muscle maladies, receives a strange message from an old love, asking him to come to her home in a distant land for some dire help. Once he arrives there, he meets the husband of his long-lost love, the Baron Sardonicus. Sardonicus had acquired his wife after paying off the gambling debt of her father. But the strange part of Sardonicus is that his face is hidden behind a mask. He tells his story of how he acquired his wealth, and the terrible secret he is hiding behind the mask. He blackmails Sir Robert into curing his affliction or his wife will come to great harm.

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Movie Review: The Giant Claw

(1957)
Directed by Fred F. Sears
Starring Jeff Morrow, Mara Corday, Morris Ankrum, Louis Merrill, Robert Shayne, Edgar Barrier

When I worked at a movie theater, we played It Came from Hollywood (1982), which featured hundreds of movie clips with popular comedians making fun of them, cracking jokes, pointing out flaws, all in the name of entertainment. Mind you, this was years before Mystery Science Theater 3000 made a career out of it. It was during that initial screening that I caught my first glimpse of the epic The Giant Claw (1957). though it would be some time before I actually knew what movie it was. Sure, it was silly and laughable at that time, with the creature looking more like some sort of sickly marionette turkey, but in those scenes where it is swooping down and chomping on parachuting passengers from the plane it just attacked, kind of creeped me out.

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Movie Review: City of the Dead

(1960)
Directed by John Llewellyn Moxey
Starring Christopher Lee, Patricia Jessel, Dennis Lotis, Tom Naylor, Betta St. John, Venetia Stevenson, Valentine Dyall, Norman MacOwan.

If you’re looking for a prime example of the beauty of black and white cinema, then look no further then this title. This has so much atmosphere that you’ll swear the fog is seeping right out from your TV into your living room. Add in the fact that the different shades of the monochromatic colors are used so well to give us such strong whites and the enveloping darkness of the blacks.

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Movie Review: Meat Grinder

(2009)
Directed by Tiwa Moeithaisong
Starring Mai Charoenpura, Anuway Niwartwong, Wiradit Srimalai, Rattanaballang Tohssawat, Duangta Tungkamanee

When the press release for this one calls it a “proud member of the ‘torture-porn’ sub-genre”, I wasn’t looking forward to sitting through yet another Saw / Hostel inspired movie that is about nothing more than seeing people getting beaten, tortured, sliced up and killed. Hate to sound old fashioned here, but for me to be entertained, really entertained, then the movie has to have a good story. Sure, we not against gore for gore sake, and have enjoyed many movies over the years that don’t offer much more than that. But as of late, since there has been a constant onslaught of these types of movies, they get really old, really quick.

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Movie Review: Caveat (2020)

(2020)
Directed by Damian Mc Carthy
Starring Jonathan French, Leila Sykes, Ben Caplan, Conor Dwane

A man who had recently suffered from an accident causing some memory lost, is hired by a friend to watch over his recently orphaned niece for a week, who by the way has some mental issues. Did I mention that the house is on a secluded island? And that because of her bouts of paranoia, the guy must wear a leather vest that is on a chained leash? While I was watching this, I even said out loud, “there’s no way you’d get me to put that vest on”, but if you can get past that obvious hurdle that most people would walk away from, then the rest of the movie will be worth it.

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Movie Review: Boys from County Hell (2020)

Directed by Chris Baugh
Starring Jack Rowan, Nigel O’Neill, Louisa Harland, Michael Hough, John Lynch, Fra Fee, Morgan C. Jones, Robert Nairne, Lalor Roddy

Creating a vampire movie these days is extremely difficult without treading on the footsteps of the countless titles already in this done-to-death sub-genre. When a filmmaker not only does that, but creates a very entertaining, humorous and still an effective picture, he, along with the cast and crew, need to be applauded. Because of that, I felt I needed to post a review, hoping to draw more people to it.

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Movie Review: The Power (2021)

The Power (2021)
Directed by Corinna Faith
Starring Rose Williams, Diveen Henry, Shakira Rahman, Sarah Hoare, Charlie Carrick, Gbemisola Ikumelo

There is nothing better than searching through Prime or Shudder and deciding to take a chance on a title that you know nothing about, and just being completely blown away by what you picked. That happened with me with The Power. First of all, I’m a sucker for old fashion ghost stories, where there is a secret that needs to be discovered and the main character(s) have to fight their way through different terrors to bring something to light. The beauty here is that while this is a period piece, the “secret” is just as relevant today, even more so, than it is when the story takes place.

Set in the early ‘70s, Rose Williams stars as Val, a young nurse on her first day on the job at an old hospital where people are being relocated. Due to the labor strikes going on, there are forced blackouts throughout the city. For some reason, Val does not due to well in the dark. But when she is “asked” by the head Matron to work the night shift, she can’t say no and start her first day on a bad note. Starting out as a genuinely nice and friendly person, just wanting to help people, Val seems like the perfect person for this kind of career. As the surroundings start to get darker, not only do we start to see how it effects Val, but we also start to realize there is something else, hiding in the shadows. I don’t want to go too much into the storyline because I think it is better to go into a story, sort of walking into a darkened hallway, not knowing what you might run into.

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Movie Review: No Reason (2010)

(2010)
Directed Olaf Ittenback
Stars Irene Holzfurtner, Mathias Engel, Alexander Gamnitzer, Andreas Pape, Annika Strauss, Ralph Willmann, and Timothy Balme

Being a young gorehound back in the VHS bootleg days, you were always looking for the next Evil Dead type of film, with over-the-top gore, showing you the blood and guts action you’d never see before. When you hear of a German film moving through the great market, even though it wasn’t available in English or subtitled, it was extremely gory, you know you had to see it. That is when I first became aware of German filmmaker Olaf Ittenback and his 1989 film Black Past. On this SOV film, Ittenback was the writer, director, producer, special effects, visual effects, and one of the actors! He followed that up with The Burning Moon in 1992, another gore-filled low budget epic. For some reason though, I never followed his career after those initial titles. Maybe because the availability of other films, and then with laserdiscs and DVDs, I had my hands full.

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Movie Review: Onibaba (1964)

(1964)
Directed by Kaneto Shindo
Starring Nobuko Otowa, Jitsuko Yoshimura, Kei Sato, Taiji Tonoyama

Back in the days before the internet, horror reference books are where we learned about older movies. For me, Phil Hardy’s Encyclopedia of Horror (the title of the first version of the book I had) was very key into helping me discover a wide variety of titles from around the world. There was a shot from this movie in there, of a woman wearing a demon mask, with grinning mouth and wide eyes, that immediately made me want to know more about it. Eventually I would track down a copy and then understood why it was praised so much. When you are talking about classic Japanese horror cinema, this must be in the conversation.

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Movie Review: The Dead (2010)

The Dead (2010)
Written & Directed by Howard J. Ford & Jonathan Ford
Starring Rob Freeman, Prince David Oseia

When this first came out, I was amazed at how well done and effective is was. I recently got the soundtrack, which made me want to revisit it for the first time in over a decade. I was still amazed how good it still is and realized that I had never officially reviewed it here on the Krypt. That is now fixed! For a sub-genre that is a half of a century old (yes, I am making Romero’s Night the starting point) and has hundreds of entries, it is very difficult to make one that is entertaining, let alone effective and scary after all this time. But with a very small cast to carry the story, some incredible special effects, and a land as barren and sparse as one’s hope in the film, the Ford Brothers has created one of the best zombie films in these last 50 years.

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