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All reviews - Movies (63) - TV Shows (1)

Books of Blood review

Posted : 2 weeks ago on 8 April 2021 12:57 (A review of Books of Blood)

I practically lost my mind with excitement when I stumbled upon the trailer for this film. As stated before, I'm a huge Clive Barker fanatic, and I've long waited for a proper film adaptation of his "Books Of Blood" series. However, it quickly came apparent to me why I had not heard buzz of this film before now. Simply put, this is because it's not really meant to be a feature film at all.

Apparently, Barker and TV veteran Brannon Baga had planned an entire mini-series with Hulu, which probably would've been the best way to tell the many stories contained within the series. But, due to Covid, this series never came to fruition. So the three "stories" contained in this film were simply meshed together into one flick. This would be fine, expect for the absolutely baffling and infuriating realization that two of these three stories are not even remotely based on stories from the actual Books Of Blood, or anything else Barker has ever written. I can't for the life of me understand the reasoning behind this, and sadly, these stories bear no resemblance to anything Barker would pen.

The middle story, the actual frame for the Books Of Blood series itself, is the only true Barker story here. It's the best one as well, although it's very short, most likely because it was intended to simply be the first episode. The other two stories are strange, nonsensical tales, the longest of which stars Britt Robertson, and truly makes not one lick of sense. The three stories intertwine in the end, but this one is always given the most attention, and it's entirely unwarranted, as the tale is weak, senseless and can't decide on a tone for it's life. So all together, this is a jumbled mess of a film, that is decently directed and certainly has it's moments. However, in the end, it's just another disappointment for Barker fans. This is two lackluster, forgettable adaptations of the "Books Of Blood". At this rate, I'm afraid we'll never have the adaptation that dear Clive deserves.


My Rating:ย  5/10



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Die, Monster, Die! review

Posted : 2 weeks ago on 8 April 2021 12:57 (A review of Die, Monster, Die!)

This film is different from most of the AIP films of the sixties, in that it's adapted from a Lovecraft story instead of Poe. It was the studio's second shot at a Lovecraft film, after "The Haunted Palace". This one is not directed by Corman himself, but it follows the blueprint of his Poe films to a fault. So much so that Lovecraft's voice is completely drown out of the film. It's the standard, young man arrives at secluded mansion to see estranged lover, only to be greeted with strange happenings and unfriendly relatives.

The only differences here being that it takes place in a more modern era, and that it centers around sci-fi/horror instead of the supernatural. It's nothing special, but it's certainly not a bad film. The cast is good, with Boris Karloff giving one of his last great performances. And the film does maintain a very creepy atmosphere, with some decent special effects for the time. But you'll know exactly how it's going to play out, from beginning to end, if you've seen superior AIP flicks like "The Pit And The Pendulum" or "House Of Usher". Worth a look for fans of the studio, but Lovecraft devotees will be terribly disappointed.

My Rating:ย  6/10



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Tales from the Hood review

Posted : 2 weeks ago on 8 April 2021 12:56 (A review of Tales from the Hood)

Judging by it's tongue in cheek name, one may expect this to be a goofy horror-comedy. And while the film is certainly sprinkled with very dark humor, this couldn't be further from the truth. Instead, at most times, this is a very serious film. It takes the concept of old Amicus anthologies such as "Tales From The Crypt", containing horror stories that function as morality plays, and gives it an African American twist. The segments in this film deal with issues such as police brutality, domestic abuse, institutional racism and gang violence. It's strange to observe that this film came out in 1995, but it's themes are more timely than ever in 2020.

It has maintained it's cult following for good reason, as the direction obviously takes inspiration from said Amicus films. The film is slick, and well acted for the most part. But it's the themes and thoughtful writing that make it clever, moving and poignant. Furthermore, it avoids the trap that most anthology films fall into, as there isn't a single bad segment here, and even the wrap-around ends in a witty, albeit disquieting manner. It's a film that manages to be important, fun and creepy all at the same time. One that not only all horror fans should give a fair chance, but that anyone interested in films that address social politics should see as well.


My Rating:ย  8/10



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Rawhead Rex review

Posted : 2 weeks ago on 8 April 2021 12:51 (A review of Rawhead Rex)

To say I'm a huge fan of Clive Barker would be an understatement, so despite this film's poor reputation, I couldn't pass up the chance to see one of Barker's early adaptations. Sadly, this one is every bit as bad as you've heard, and in no way feels like a Barker film should feel. It's largest problem is that it's utterly void of any semblance of plot or reason. There's no real explanation as to what Rawhead really is, where he comes from, why he looks and dresses like a monstrous heavy metal fan or why he is deathly afraid of pregnant women. We're just expected to take all of this nonsense at complete face value.

The effects are also incredibly poor, with the titular monster being so rubbery that his entire head jiggles with every stomp. The creature also sports a distinctly 80's hair-style and fashion sense, despite supposedly being a millions of years old God. The performances are shockingly decent, with David Dukes giving a particularly likeable performance in the lead role, but there's just nothing to this film. When it's not being a lazy, badly directed monster film, it makes no sense whatsoever, and is often unintentionally humorous. There's a reason Barker disowned it.

My Rating:ย  4/10


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Rawhead Rex review

Posted : 2 weeks ago on 8 April 2021 12:51 (A review of Rawhead Rex)

To say I'm a huge fan of Clive Barker would be an understatement, so despite this film's poor reputation, I couldn't pass up the chance to see one of Barker's early adaptations. Sadly, this one is every bit as bad as you've heard, and in no way feels like a Barker film should feel. It's largest problem is that it's utterly void of any semblance of plot or reason. There's no real explanation as to what Rawhead really is, where he comes from, why he looks and dresses like a monstrous heavy metal fan or why he is deathly afraid of pregnant women. We're just expected to take all of this nonsense at complete face value.

The effects are also incredibly poor, with the titular monster being so rubbery that his entire head jiggles with every stomp. The creature also sports a distinctly 80's hair-style and fashion sense, despite supposedly being a millions of years old God. The performances are shockingly decent, with David Dukes giving a particularly likeable performance in the lead role, but there's just nothing to this film. When it's not being a lazy, badly directed monster film, it makes no sense whatsoever, and is often unintentionally humorous. There's a reason Barker disowned it.

My Rating:ย  4/10


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Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990) review

Posted : 2 weeks ago on 8 April 2021 12:50 (A review of Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990))

The "Psycho" franchise ends on it's fourth installment, by returning to the beginning of the story. The mythology of the series was becoming increasingly complicated by the 3rd film, so this prequel pulls the old trick of ignoring both sequels, and serving as both a direct sequel, and prequel, to the original film itself. There's just one problem with this concept, we already know everything that's going to happen in this film, long before it ever does. The only purpose it serves is to film particular moments only spoken of in the rest of the franchise, namely the murder of Norman's mother.

The unfortunate thing is that the script is completely uninterested in doing anything remotely original. As said, we already know the story of how Norman came to be insane, and one could make an argument that we don't even need to witness his childhood. But for his origin story to be such a mundane, humdrum tale of incestuous desire, is simply disappointing. Especially considering that the script was written by Joseph Stefano, who penned the original Psycho himself. There's no tension or suspense, because there's not allowed to be.

The only things that keep the film afloat are the performances of a fantastic cast. Perkins continues to play Bates with the same mastery he always has, while Henry Thomas gives a fine turn as young Norman. CCH Pounder is also wonderful as a talk show host that Norman unravels his secrets to. Sadly, Olivia Hussey is miscast as Norman's mother. She's far too beautiful and kind-spirited to be convincing as an abusive, psychotic mother. All together, the film does have it's moments, and is adequately directed by Mick Garris, but it's best moments come from the superb thespians themselves, and not the bone-dry script.

My Rating:ย  5/10


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Psycho III (1986) review

Posted : 2 weeks ago on 8 April 2021 12:50 (A review of Psycho III (1986))

No one expected a 2nd Psycho film, and no one could have predicted a 3rd. While I am a great fan of the 2nd film in the franchise, this is easily the weakest in what never should've been a series to begin with. Things ended perfectly in Psycho II, and there quite frankly, is nowhere to go with this concept forward. So the result here is Norman Bates being reduced to nothing more than another slasher film stalker.

The film still focuses on Norman's inner mental turmoil more than many slasher films do for their killers, but we know exactly what to expect by now. Most of the events in the film are simply a rehash of the first two. There's a love interest shoe-horned in for Norman, though her character is so weak that we barely develop a sense of who she is. There's also another skeptical woman playing detective, trying to expose Norman's crimes, yet again. Between all this humdrum, the film is spread with moments of violence that are more brutal than any other film in the series, but this serves no purpose, as the Psycho films were never about watching Norman kill.


The only notable difference here is the inclusion of a sleazy, unlikeable character who tries to exploit Bates for money, played by Jeff Fahey, who somehow manages to simultaneously over-act and under-act at all times. The film's ending sees even more twists added to the franchise mythos, but these rather complicated revelations are divulged all at once, in one of the most ham-fisted exposition dumps I've ever seen. It's all the more disappointing that the film is so un-creative and disrespectful to it's source, when considering it was directed by Perkins himself, and written by Charles Edward Pogue, who scripted the classic "The Fly" in the same year. Though the film is nicely directed and photographed, it's nothing but a waste of talent for all those involved.

My Rating:ย  4/10


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Psycho II (1983) review

Posted : 2 weeks ago on 8 April 2021 12:49 (A review of Psycho II (1983))

Not many people would dare to have mused that a sequel to Hitchcock's "Psycho" was needed, but even fewer people could have predicted that such a film would be as good as this one is. In the hands of a lesser director, this could've been a simple slasher film, or a disrespectful re-hash. Instead, it's a fiercely original, quite brave continuation of a story many thought there was no more of to tell. Director Richard Franklin was a student of Hitchcock himself, and sought to pay respect to his teacher, as well as the character of Norman Bates. Anthony Perkins was quite skeptical of returning to the role, but after reading the script, he saw how thoughtful it was and gave it his blessing. And it's Perkins performance that makes the film, even more so than in the original.

The script here dares to paint Norman as a sympathetic character, and muses about some very interesting sociological topics. Namely, the rehabilitation of the violently mental ill, and how society treats them. In the film, Norman simply wants to return to a quiet life of solitude. He knows what he has done, and his mind has been set straight thanks to years of psychiatric help, but the victims of his crimes cannot forgive him, and in their ignorance, may cause more bloodshed than even he did.

Most filmmakers wouldn't opt for such a controversial angle, but Franklin pulls it off perfectly, balancing the emotional, tragic side of the plot, with plenty of suspense and some appropriately brutal killings. He also pays tribute to the original film, by updating certain shots and paying homage to others. There are so many red-herrings that in the hands of a less talented filmmaker, things may become cluttered, but Franklin manages to keep the viewer on their toes, while unveiling twist after twist, none of them lessening the film or it's predecessor. The script was penned by Tom Holland, who would go on to give us classics such as "Child's Play" and "Fright Night", and he deserves just as much credit as Franklin for the film's originality and intelligent dialogue. All together, this is a superb sequel, and a wonderful continuation of a film many call a masterpiece.

My Rating:ย  8/10


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Alien: Resurrection review

Posted : 2 weeks ago on 8 April 2021 12:49 (A review of Alien: Resurrection)

Here we have the black sheep of the Alien franchise. After the disaster that was "Alien 3", it's obvious that producers were looking to go in the polar opposite direction of that film. So this is a bombastic, almost comic book-like horror/action film. It certainly contains more gore and dark humor than any other film in the series, but in my opinion, it's a welcome divergence. Perhaps it was a bit too much for audiences at the time, and it's far from a perfect film, but also far from bad or mediocre. It hits that sweet spot right between "decent" and "good", that's simply fun.


Screenwriter Joss Whedon was brought on board, so it's no surprise that the film has the feel of a comic. The direction and artistry of Jean-Pierre Jeunet shines through as well. Jeunut was known for his colorful, artistic fantasy films such as "The City Of Lost Children" and "Delicatessen", and he brings his distinct visual flair to this film, making it easily the most visually stunning installment in the franchise. The effects work is also brilliant. The Xenomorphs are shown far more often in this film than any other, but somehow this works. The focus here isn't so much on suspense or tension, and rather gory, witty fun, so seeing the monsters more often is a given. I'm also of the opinion that the "hybrid" creature at the end of the film is terrifying, and one of the most fascinating monster designs in cinematic history.

The cast helps keep things moving, with a colorful collection of characters. Sigourney Weaver obviously relishes exploring new aspects of Ripley's character, and spouting more sarcastic one-liners. Ron Perlman steals his scenes as, well, himself, and Dominique Pinon gives the most memorable turn as a wheelchair-bound badass with a heart of gold. And the film is at it's best when delivering crazy action scenes and inventive gore. It's not as strong on story, but the Alien franchise has never been about complex mythology, and this one honestly takes it's plot in some more daring, and interesting directions. It doesn't deserve the ridicule it gets, and I always have tons of fun re-watching it. A shame we never got a continuation of this style and story, because it could've taken the franchise to some creative new places.

My Rating:ย  7/10


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Alien 3 review

Posted : 2 weeks ago on 8 April 2021 12:48 (A review of Alien 3)

This is perhaps one of the most unusual, and unsatisfying sequels to a classic film ever made. Alien 3 didn't just follow "Alien", it followed an already superb sequel in "Aliens", a sequel that redefined what a sequel could even be. Looking into the history of the film's production, it's easy to see why it's such a mess. Multiple re-writes, script doctors, directors leaving, more writers coming in. There are more potential versions of Alien 3 written, than perhaps any film in cinematic history. And thus, the remaining film, cobbled together from four very different scripts, is simply an incoherent mess.

So where to begin with the issues? The film gets off to a bad start immediately, by senselessly murdering two of the returning main characters from the second film. The "prison planet" that Ripley crashes on seems intriguing at first, but the concept of this motley gang of convicts/religious cult members is never fleshed out in any meaningful manner. The characters are scummy, brutish and unpleasant, and hardly any of them grow into more interesting or likeable people. The few decent characters are quickly dispatched of, and the sense of despair and grime is smothering. Not in a good way either, as the film has no point, let alone a purpose. It's narrative does nothing distinct or especially notable with the franchise mythology.

Mostly, one is left wondering why this film was even necessary. It disrespects it's characters, and the other films in the franchise, while offering no enjoyment otherwise. It's not suspenseful, action-packed or intelligent. It simply grinds along, like gears in a grimy, rusty machine, until the wretchedness is finally over. To this day, David Fincher disowns it, and those involved in the Alien franchise would prefer pretending it never happened. I'd like to do the same.


My Rating:ย  4/10



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