Movie Review: Dead Snow

Directed by Tommy Wirkola
Starring Charlotte Frogner, Ørjan Gamst, Stig Frode Henriksen, Vegar Hoel, Jeppe Laursen, Evy Kasseth, Evy Kasseth Røsten, Jenny Skavian, Bjørn Sundquist

If Peter Jackson was to remake Shock Waves (1977), but set it in the snowy mountains, then you would have Dead Snow. After getting a lot of internet hype, we had the chance to see this new Norwegian zombie film in the theater and just loved it. For someone to take a sub-genre that has been done to . . . death (sorry, couldn’t help it), co-writer and director Tommy Wirkola pulled out all the stops and gives us one bloody entertainingly good movie.

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Movie Review: The Deadly Spawn

Directed by Douglas McKeown
Starring Michael Robert Coleman, Charles George Hildebrandt, James Brewster, Elissa Neil,
Karen Tighe, Tom DeFranco, John Schmerling, Ethel Michelson

Back in the era of video stores, the first time you walked through the horror section and saw the big box video of Return of the Aliens Deadly Spawn, you knew you had to see that movie immediately! How could it be bad when you have this huge monster with three huge tooth-filled mouths, and blood and body parts everywhere? Granted, it was actually just The Deadly Spawn, but was changed slightly to key into the success of Alien. No matter what the title was, it was hard to walk away from that first viewing with a little slack in your jaw. For a low budget film from some guys in New Jersey, it became a very memorable ’80s monster flick for most fans.

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Movie Review: The Unseen (2016)

The Unseen (2016)
Written and directed by Geoff Redknap
Starring Aden Young, Camille Sullivan, Julia Sarah Stone, Ben Cotton

Here is yet another example of stumbling across a title that you’ve never heard of, and then are so blown away by it that you’re amazed this is the first time you’re hearing about it. Or at least that you remember! Especially with the big Invisible Man remake from last year, you’d think that the spotlight would have been put on any similar type films. But this one really seemed to be left… unseen!

One of the things that I love about this film is the ambiguity. A little information is given about what is going on, but honestly the obvious has little to do with the story itself. Aden Young plays Bob Langmore, once a contender for a promising career in professional hockey, but has seemed to drop off the radar. He’s left his wife and young daughter, heading to the outskirts of nowhere to work in a mill. We’re not really sure what is wrong with him, but he seems to be in pain, and is seriously contemplating throwing himself into one of the giant grinders at work. Our first clue that something strange is going on is when he is at home and unwraps the bandages on his hand and we see parts of two of his fingers are gone. But then we realize they are not gone, we just can’t see them. He’s partially invisible. But unlike the traditional stories of this type, he’s not slowly fading in and out, just parts of him are transparent, and not completely transparent, but what seems like layers of him. And it seems to be spreading. For some reason, the process seems to be painful. Could the physical injuries he’s receiving, like in a fight, aggravating his condition? Right before he jumps into one of the machines, he decides he needs to see his daughter one last time. Shortly after he gets back home to visit, she doesn’t come home from a night with her friends. As he and his ex-wife start to investigate where she might have gone, more and more truths about what is going on becomes a little bit clearer. Continue reading

Movie Review: The Deadly Mantis

Directed by Nathan Juran
Starring Craig Stevens, William Hopper, Alix Talton, Donald Randolph, Pat Conway,
Florenz Ames, Paul Smith, Phil Harvey

“One of the worst SF films made by Universal.”

The above quote is from writer/film critic/historian Bill Warren. Granted, he makes a lot of valid points in criticism, but as much as I respect him and his work, I have to completely disagree with him on this one. Out of all the ’50s giant monster flicks, The Deadly Mantis remains one of my favorites. Maybe it comes down to the simple fact that I think this is one of the best looking creatures in these films. Or that I fondly remember this one as a kid and it has always stuck in my head. And I will say, that while Warren, and a lot of others, refer to this as a science fiction picture, let us get one thing perfectly clear. When you have a giant monster attacking cities and killing people, that right there, my friends, is horror, plain and simple. Continue reading

Movie Review: Dog Soldiers

Directed by Neil Marshall
Starring Sean Pertwee, Kevin McKidd, Liam Cunningham, Emma Cleasby, Thomas Lockyer, Darren Morfitt,
Chris Robson, Leslie Simpson

Back when this first came out, I ignored it. The reason was that it debuted on the Sci-Fi channel, and fans quickly learned that whatever made their debut on there was going to stink. For example, Cherry Falls (2000), Wishmaster 2 (1999), or Vampires: Los Muertos (2002). Now, not to knock anybody who likes those films, I would say they are not that well made. So when I heard of this new werewolf movie that was going to debut there, I paid no attention to it. A couple of months later, when it hit DVD, I started hearing from friends on how it is actually pretty damn good. So I gave it a whirl and was just blown away. Sure, it could be because my expectations were so low, or it could have been because it was just a well made horror flick, with an amazing cast, and some of the best practical werewolf creatures I’ve seen since The Howling (1982). Continue reading

Movie Review: Nightbreed

Directed by Clive Barker
Starring Craig Sheffer, Anne Bobby, David Cronenberg, Doug Bradley, Nicholas Vince, Simon Bamford,
Charles Haid, Hugh Quarshie, Hugh Ross, Catherine Chevalier, Oliver Parker, John Agar

There is something about the mythology of monsters that is so fascinating. It seems that with ever new monster flick if we don’t have the back story to the creature, we want it! Or if there is some hints to it, we want more! What Clive Barker has done with this film, or the novella it is based on, is do exactly that, by giving us a tale of monsters that have been shunned from normal society, either choosing to or force to run and hide from it, all gathering to a place called Midian. Continue reading

Movie Review: The Vigil (2019)

The Vigil (2019)
Directed by Keith Thomas
Starring Dave Davis, Malky Goldman, Menashe Lustig, Lynn Cohen

When this screener came across our desk and I read what the story was about, I was excited to see a different take or angle on a subject used many times in the horror genre, one taken from a Orthodox Jewish side. A troubled young man agrees to be an overnight “shomer”, someone who watches and prays over a recently deceased member of the church. With such a simple story, I was curious to see what this picture could offer. What I found out was that no matter the background, religious beliefs, or any of that, the feelings of guilt, horror, and creepiness can be found all around us. Continue reading

Movie Review: Prince of Darkness

Director John Carpenter
Starring Donald Pleasence, Jameson Parker, Victor Wong, Lisa Blount, Dennis Dun, Susan Blanchard, Annie Marie Howard, Ann Yen, Ken Wright, Peter Jason, Alice Cooper, Thom Bray, Robert Grasmere, Ken Wright

This is another one of those examples where you have an opinion of a film from the first time you view it, but then at some point in your life, you revisit it to find yourself seeing something more than that first time. I was there opening weekend for this new Carpenter flick and don’t remember if I actually knew anything about the story before hand, but would never miss out on seeing his latest. My first thoughts were that even though I loved the music, I didn’t feel the same way about the film. I felt it was too slow and honestly the idea of a liquid evil or monster was just damn silly. I was also a little confused at who they were trying to bring from the other side, Satan or Satan’s father? Just a little too disjointed for me. At least, at that time. While my love of the score Carpenter did never wavered, eventually scoring a copy from a Japanese CD release (at a pretty penny), I never thought to go back to the film. I mean, if you don’t like something, why go back? But when one of Shout Factory’s Blu-rays came out, I picked it up during a sale and I figured I better give it another shot, trying to be a little more open-minded this time. Continue reading

Movie Review: Spider Baby

Directed by Jack Hill
Starring Lon Chaney Jr., Carol Ohmart, Quinn K. Redeker, Beverly Washburn, Jill Banner, Sid Haig, Mary Mitchel, Karl Schanzer, Mantan Moreland

The first time I saw this film was on a shitty VHS bootleg that was barely watchable. This was still years away before it would released on laserdisc and VHS, and eventually DVD and Blu-ray. But even watching the grainy print on video, you could see something special in this strange movie. Thankfully we don’t need to worry about bootlegs anymore since there have been a couple of different special edition Blu-ray releases by now. How great to be a movie fan these days. Continue reading

Movie Review: Night of the Demon (1957)

Night of the Demon (1957)
Directed by Jacques Tourneur
Starring Dana Andrews, Peggy Cummins, Niall MacGinnis, Athene Seyler, Liam Redmond, Reginald Beckwith, Maurice Denham

There are those films regarded as classics, even amongst the horror genre. This is one of them. Released here in the states as Curse of the Demon, the story is a simple battle between the forces of good and evil. But it is also about what you believe in and if maybe, just maybe, there is something out there in the dark waiting for you. That the supernatural and all that goes with it, is real. Continue reading