Tagged: creature feature

VHS Verdict: 1983’s ‘The Keep’ is Surreal Horror at it’s Best!

I recently found a copy of the rare horror movie ‘The Keep’ from 1983 and finally checked it out for the first time last night. I’ve wanted to see this one for a long time, mainly because of how damn awesome the movie’s cover/poster artwork is, the it’s VHS cover always stuck with from when I was a kid hanging around in the horror sections of the videos stores while my parents were distracted.

The Keep was directed by Michael Mann, who I’ve always loved for his 1986 movie Manhunter, which was the first big screen appearance of Hannibal Lecter. So it seems this particular movie has been kinda shoved under the rug as Mann has admitted that he’s not a big fan of it. At least not a fan of the cut that was theatrically released. Apparently his version of the movie was originally 210 minutes long! Whoah! Supposedly Paramount told him to edit it down to just two hours, that version still didn’t sit well with test audiences so they edited the movie down even further to a mere 96 minutes. Of course that’s one of the main reasons why the movie is admittedly pretty hard to make any real sense of. It’s a slow burn, but I knew that from the start, and knew it wasn’t really your typical horror movie. Instead I viewed it for what it really is, a surreal, dream like horror fantasy and it really works well as exactly that.

It’s based around a group of Nazis who are sent to guard an huge, old, mysterious fortress in a Romanian mountain pass. One of them releases an powerful force trapped within the walls while thinking they’ll discover some sort of treasure behind them. A weird stranger senses this from his home back in Greece and travels to the keep to try and destroy the sinister force. As Nazi soldiers are eliminated, a Jewish father / daughter duo who both have information on the secrets of the bizarre stronghold arrive on the scene to make sense of the ghostly happenings. It’s a cool set up, but it’s a bit hard to comprehend as it’s filled with plot holes and many unanswered questions, likely that’d been explored in the mega extended version.

It’s also more of an art film really than a horror flick at the end of the day. It’s filled with ripe, hazy dream like atmosphere from start to finish, it’s a visual treat with a mostly quiet pace to it. When the creature though arrives on the scene from the walls of the keep it does get pretty intense and the finale is filled with a ton of great sequences that surely must’ve influenced a modern film maker like Panos Cosmatos (Mandy, Beyond the Black Rainbow). There are some amazing set pieces here, most filled with creepy fog, a pretty impressive hulk of a monster and some really excellent special fx work to behold as well. It certainly excels in it’s creation of a portal from another dimension spilling into our reality. 

The cast also is pretty awesome as well, Scott Glenn, Gabriel Byrne and a much younger Ian Mckellan make this whole experience that much more enjoyable. Byrne plays a crazy Nazi and Mckellan shines as a sort of hero of the movie, being forced to work alongside the Nazis. Yeah folks, Ian was at one time “young” even though he’s still oddly kinda old even way back in 1983! I also have to mention the totally epic score from soundtrack legends Tangerine Dream, I gotta track the soundtrack down. The Keep was a delight to finally see after all these years, this movie desperately needs a re-release on blu-ray/dvd this time with the full 210 minutes of Mann’s vision!!

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‘The Predator’ Movie Review: Bad Comedy & Not Much Else…

So Friday afternoon I checked out ‘The Predator’, the latest comedy from director Shane Black, the 5th installment to the movie franchise if you include those AVP films. I’d been pumped for this thing to drop as a big fan of the original, which back in 1987 was the first R-rated movie I saw in the theaters. It was also the first movie I’d ever snuck into. I can still remember my friend and I’s reaction to witnessing ‘Predator’ on the big screen after sneaking in, which itself was pretty exciting actually, it was a truly epic cinematic event I’ll never forget and one of those moments growing up that shaped my obsession of movies to current day. I love Predator and the best thing about the movie is that it STILL holds up as one of the best action/horror/scifi flicks of all time. So yeah, naturally when I’d heard Shane Black, who’d actually starred in the original film and Fred Dekker (Monster Squad, Night of the Creeps) was writing it, my hopes for a truly iconic return to form for the Predator franchise was indeed very high.

Well the verdict is in folks, and as a longtime fan, I’m sorry to say the movie blows. After seeing the trailers, I was certainly cautious going into this one, but still was quite certain if anyone was going to deliver the goddamn goods this time around it’d have be Shane Black. That however was certainly not the case. ‘The Predator’ is a full blown comedy and not a good one, in fact it was a bit awkward in the theater as their attempts at jokes fell quite flat most of the time to a rather quiet and unenthusiastic audience. I guess the best way to describe it is it’s attempting to be a Marvel movie version of the Predator. This seems to be the trend these days in these bloated blockbusters, interrupting any potentially serious moments in a movie with some sort of “witty” Marvel-esque attempt at a joke. I’ve gotta say I’m over it. Long gone is the horror/slasher, suspense of the original films instead we’ve got utterly bland characters entrenched in one truly moronic adventure.

I could care less about this movie’s characters, in fact at one point I was hoping for the Predator to destroy them all just so they’d stop cracking unfunny jokes. All of them are totally generic, even the little kid is just a total bore and probably had no place even being in a Predator movie, especially this one which I found out has some weird ass controversy surrounding it. I’m not going to give a play by play either, as so many people out there have already reviewed this stinker. I’ll get down to the real meat and potatoes here, the Predator at least looked good, that is until the bigger CGI Predator and his lame ass CG dogs shows up to take a big dump on that aspect of things as well. Let’s not even discuss how dumb the Predator dog subplot is here, it’s just not worth the time, lets just say it’s another example of The Predator’s piss poor writing. There’s also tons of “call back” joke lines thrown around here from previous movies in the franchise, apparently Shane thinks that shit is still really a big treat for the fans, as a fan I can truly say it’s not.

The movie is just one big dumb, poorly edited, poorly paced, boring mess of a movie. For the longest time I was hoping that Arnold would return in this film as Dutch from the 1987 classic. I wanted it so bad. After seeing 2018’s ‘The Predator’ I’m actually fully relieved that he declined the cameo Shane Black had offered him. This movie didn’t deserve to have Dutch to make an appearance. As far as ranking the films, this one just might be the worst of the batch, I actually would rather watch the two AVP movies before trudging through this thing again. I’d say after this it just might be time to retire the franchise for good. I’m still amazed Shane Black and Fred Dekker could drop the ball this badly, but alas they served us all a bonafide shit sandwich. Good riddance Predator, I’m sad to say it but I’m not gonna miss you…. 

‘Book of Monsters’ New Trailer Looks Like a Lost Cult Classic 80’s Creature Feature!

Now here’s a new crazy looking monster movie that looks pretty damn sweet and totally ready to quench my thirst for those gooey creature features of the 80’s! There’s something about most modern monster movies that just doesn’t cut the cake for me, I’m rarely convinced these days that a CGI creation is much of a threat on screen, as they don’t really look like they’re actually there in the flesh. Rather floating around on a separate computerized layer. So as much as I loved “A Quiet Place” the monsters were probably my least favorite thing about the movie. Give me an 80’s classic like ‘The Thing’, ‘The Blob’, ‘Gremlins’ or even something like “Neon Maniacs” any day of the damn week!

Judging by the new trailer for “Book of Monsters” I might’ve just found the kind of movie I’m looking for. It looks like a long lost 80’s creature feature in the best way possible. The premise sounds like a fun time as well, besides the whole “evil book” thing which might be considered a bit played out at this point, it still looks like a ton of gory fun filled with a lots of old school practical fx monster mayhem. 

The plot:

Sophie’s 18th birthday party becomes a total bloodbath when six horrific monsters descend upon her home, intent on devouring the party guests and killing anyone who tries to escape their clutches. As her school friends are ripped to shreds and eaten, Sophie must rally a band of misfits and take up arms to send their party crashers back to the depths of hell. To survive the night, Sophie will face her destiny; monsters are real – and she’s the only one who can stop them.

Check out the trailer, this one’s set to drop on August 25th..

 

The 5 Potentially Most Awesome Upcoming Horror Flicks!!

Great new horror movies are hard to come by these days, so here I am once again, to give you a list of 5 movies that seem to be contenders to drum up the ultimate scares! I’m always on the look out for new horror stuff and also always lookin’ out for ones that might just fly under the radar because they’re not big Hollywood productions. So here my predictions for some cool spooky shit to keep your eyes peeled for!

1. MANDY

Hooooooooly shit! This Trailer looks absolutely amazing, totally unique and for fans of Nicholas Cage it’s gonna likely be a full on wet dream. Everything about this movie looks fantastic, horrifying, gory, mysterious and beautiful. It also involves a creepy ass religious cult who it appears Cage has to do battle with to get ultimate revenge! Check this out it’s got me foaming at the mouth and the movie drops September 14th 2018!!

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Movie Review: A Seriously Pissed off Bigfoot with a High IQ in ‘Primal Rage’!

I’m always totally down to see a killer new Sasquatch flick, the trouble is there’s been a LOT of pretty crappy ones made over the years with maybe just a few exceptions like Eduardo Sanchez’s ‘Exists’, ‘Abominable’ from 2006 and of course the classic ‘Harry and The Hendersons’. For some reason people have a tuff time bringing a believable Bigfoot to the big screen. Go figure. That leaves me believe people seem to think all they need is a tall dude to don an ape suit and they’ve got a worthy horror on their hands. The best ones though always put most of their money into their ‘Squatch creature fx and bring something truly believable to screen. Let’s face it, so many out there are faking Bigfoot videos on Youtube with rubber ape suits, believing what you’re seeing on screen is real is the first point of brilliance in a movie like this. Luckily “Primal Rage” is directed by fx wizard Patrick Magee (Jurassic Park 3/Progeny/AVP) and he put some serious effort into the crazed creature’s appearance in this movie. The best thing about this one is clearly the beast and that’s a damn good thing in this case.

Primal Rage’s actors aren’t trying to (or maybe even able to) win awards here and it’s got more in common at it’s core with a 70’s or 80’s killer creature flick than it does with something like Jurassic Park. The script is here might be a bit on the flimsy side but that makes way for tons of crazy Bigfoot action to go down. The premise is simple, an ex-con is just released from prison and picked up there by his girlfriend, as they drive through the mountains of Pacific Northwest (en route back home) they get side tracked when a mangled man stumbles into the road and is hit by their car. When they get out to investigate they almost immediately come under attack from large rocks being hurled at them, ex-con guy gets knocked off a cliff into a river and his lover jumps down to save him from drowning. This begins a fight for their lives in the woods are they’re pursued by “Oh-Mah” a pissed off native american mythical cryptid, AKA Sasquatch.

The interesting thing here is that “Oh-Mah” is actually an intelligent, brutal hunter who wears a bark mask and uses a bevy of handcrafted weapons to attack his prey. He also fucks shit up with his bare hands any chance he gets. He’s brutal as hell in this one, firing arrows and ripping people to shreds who’re dumb enough to hanging around in his stompin’ grounds. Bigfoot’s a calculated cold blooded killer here and there’s plenty of people for him to rip into, especially as there’s conveniently a gang of backwoods weirdos ala Deliverance who’re in desperate need of an ass-kickin shooting the shit in the vicinity. Bigfoot pulls no punches either, Magee pulls out some crazy ass sequences of practical gore a’plenty and his Bigfoot, “Oh-Mah” looks fantastic. He’s huge and it’s clear they put plenty of work into his animatronic face to make him a convincing and memorable movie monster.

There’s also a sweet supernatural sub-plot going on with the local Native American sheriff who’s out for Oh-Mah’s hide (this dude should have been the main character) and a crazy wood witch who looks like she stepped right out of Ridley Scott’s “Legend”. Magee does a fine job here creating a ton of cool action sequences and an explosive ‘final boss’ battle. Bigfoot does have a questionable scene where he forces himself upon a female captive that I could have done without, but luckily it’s a brief, more implied scene. Otherwise this one’s a ton of gory fun that’s not to be taken too seriously. It’s a good mix of Predator, Pumpkinhead & Deliverance with some ‘Squatch making it it one of the best of it’s genre. A must see addition to Bigfoot’s horror legacy!

 

VHS Verdict: 1990’s ‘Metamorphosis: The Alien Factor’ is Gooey Monster Movie Mayhem!

Damn! I’ve been scoring some excellent VHS tapes lately and even better is the fact that they’re movies I’ve never heard of before. Being a huge fan of 80’s creature features I was delighted to run across this total gem of a flick. Not to be confused with ‘Metamorphosis’ by George Eastman which also came out in 1990, ‘Metamorphosis: The Alien Factor’ is an inspiring special fx laden monster movie for fans of movies like The 80’s ‘Blob’, ‘The Thing’ & of course ‘The Deadly Spawn’. This movie is actually the unofficial sequel to 1983’s ‘The Deadly Spawn’ being produced by Ted Bohus who was responsible for both movies. Turns out he produced two home run horror movies as Metamorphosis is just as good if not in some ways even better than The Deadly Spawn.

The movie’s plot is quite simple, a scientist is researching some strange mutant creatures from another planet in lab and accidentally stabs one of them in the head with a syringe. The pissed off mutant bites his hand, escapes, the scientist quickly begins to metamorphosize into a slimy mass of grotesque flesh & eventually mutates into a huge creature that kills a security guard. Well it’s not long before the security guard’s two daughters and one of their geeky horny boyfriends are all up on the scene to figure out just what happened to their dear ol’ dad. They sneak into the research facility and crazy monster mayhem ensues. This one’s a ton of fun, sure it’s got some pretty bad acting, unintentionally goofy dialogue and may have about 15 minutes too much of bland character development but the whole thing is littered with crazy creatures and plenty o’ gooey gore.

The monsters are the main attraction here and they’re beautifully created via puppetry, animatronics and even a hefty dose of stop motion animation. It really is a great sequel to The Deadly Spawn and the main monster does indeed share an even enough similarity to the creatures of it’s predecessor. These two movies would make a great double feature especially for those who’re looking for an underrated gem of a monster movie and plenty of gross out schlocky gore.

The last 30 minutes of the movie definitely amps up the monster mayhem to eleven and though some of the first two acts can begin to only slightly drag with perhaps trying a bit too hard at crafting a “compelling” story once the shit truly hits the fan it’s totally worth the wait. Like ‘The Deadly Spawn’ this also one has quite a gigantic closing sequence that firmly cements ‘Metamorphosis: The Alien Factor’ into the list of the the best monster movies of the late 80’s/90s. Check it out!

‘The Predator’ Trailer Drops & Boy Does It Look Kinda, Sorta OK-ish!

Well, well, well, finally the day has arrived! The first look at the upcoming mega event blockbuster sequel to 1987’s Predator in the way of Shane Black’s ‘The Predator’. Slated for release in September 2018, I’ve had my eyes peeled for any info on this one, written by Fred (Monster Squad/Night of the Creeps) Dekker & Shane Black & directed by Black who also starred in the original 1987 creature feature masterpiece. Black has been boasting that this sequel is going to reignite The Predator franchise in a big way, being an event style movie that ramps up the vibes akin to to the original!

Well it’s been a long wait and we finally get a look at the movie via the first official trailer today. What we’ve known so far is that this one takes place mainly in the suburbs, features an autistic child who can communicate with the alien hunters, pits the Predator up against a team of “deadly” assassins & will feature Jake Busey as the son of Predator 2’s crazy cop played by his dad Gary. We also have been told sadly that Arnold Schwarzenegger won’t be reprising his role as Dutch. However still, many have speculated he may have indeed been included in the recent reshoots. From what we’ve been told they reshot the last third of the movie recently after early test screenings revealed lackluster responses from audiences. I hope that’s the case, as Arnold is like the Predator’s Luke Skywalker & this is likely the last chance we’ll have to include him as the iconic Dutch character, I mean let’s face it Arnie IS getting old and recently even had open heart surgery. Regardless, here it is finally, the trailer for the sequel Predator fanatics have all been patiently waiting for:

So…….what did you think? I guess I was hoping for so much more from this first trailer. I mean, it seemed ok for the most part, however nothing really got my blood a pumpin’. Let me remind everyone ‘AVP: Requiem’ took place largely in suburbia so it feels already a bit familiar already in maybe not the greatest way, as the AVP movies weren’t exactly cinematic gold. Perhaps we’ll all be surprised by the actual movie when it’s released, but in my opinion, at this point though I’d say the previous movie ‘Predators’ from 2010 had a much more interesting sounding premise and trailer. I’ve got a bad feeling about this installment as it doesn’t seem so far like it’s going to peak a helluva lot of interest from movie goers from this first trailer. At least if “Dutch” or even Danny Glover at this point was hinted at returning it might have garnered some interest from long time fans but as far as first trailers go this one feels a bit dead on arrival. I’m not sure ‘The Predator’ has got an intriguing enough story going for it to really fill seats in the theater. I hope I’m wrong, but god dammit if Hollywood is notorious for striking out when trying prey upon our nostalgia….