Tagged: Thriller

Blue Vengeance: 1989’s Heavy Metal Horror Cop Drama Mash Up!!

I love a great 80’s flick and I love it when I see something from the era that’s somehow eluded me throughout the years. So I was pretty stoked to get a copy of 1989’s Blue Vengeance on Blu Ray, a movie I’d never even heard of until recently. How the heck was that possible? Well from what I understand the movie was never given a proper domestic vhs or dvd release back in the day so I’m giving myself a pass for being clueless this time on this one!

That being said, let’s get to it! Ok if you’re a fan of 80’s metal and underground music in general you’re going to immediately find something to love about this movie. Not only is the deranged psychopathic villain a full on metal head, but he’s basically triggered into a serial killing spree of former band members whom he proclaims have “sold out”. I dig his motivation, as I’ve never heard of a slasher with passion for metal ideals like this dude! He seems also totally obsessed with his old band’s song lyrics as well, like they’re the damn holy grail writings of satan himself! He escapes from prison and heads off to NYC to raise some hell and then jam some riffs in his old bedroom at his mom’s place before going on his poser killing spree. Then there’s a cop who’s got PTSD who jumps on the case, leading him to some cool indie hot spots like CBGB’S where punk rock band The Lunachicks are on stage performing was quite a pleasant surprise. 

There the cop meets a young female punk who attempts to help him crack the case of the metal maniac killer roaming the streets. Yeah, Blue Vengeance has got some pretty fun and colorful characters at it’s core that bring a certain odd charm to the whole viewing experience. The killer has delusions of being stuck in some midieval fantasy of swords and sorcery that drive his rampage further down a rabid rabbit hole. While the cop and his underage punk rocker sidekick have a sort of weird romantic relationship going on that somehow works without getting too creepy. The movie’s pretty cool on it’s own as a basic low budget 80’s cop thriller with some strong horror themes for most of it’s duration but it really ramps things up in it’s glorious final act. That’s when things go in ultimately ridiculous directions in it’s final showdown and it’s well worth the wait. There’s some surprising moments of gore to behold here as well and some really entertaining dialogue, while none of it can be taken too seriously, I truly admire how surprisingly straight it’s all played. Check this one out, I think it’s on Amazon Prime now and also available on blu ray! A great hidden late 80’s gem!

VHS Verdict: ‘The Midnight Hour’ is a Full Dose of Sweet 80’s Halloween Nostalgia!

Are you looking for the perfect movie to watch this Halloween that’s got a little bit of everything for everyone? Well I’d highly recommend a little gem from 1985 called ‘The Midnight Hour’. This was originally aired on ABC back in the day as a made for TV movie. That being said it feels much more like a theatrical production, with genuinely spooky sets and some pretty sweet & spooky special fx. Imagine a whole movie with the look and feel of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ and I must mention the music here’s also perfectly curated to the Halloween season at hand. One of the best sequences involves The Smiths “How Soon is Now” being the soundtrack to a truly uniquely executed vampire attack, it’s a ton of fun. The premise is nice and simple too, when a gang of teenage Halloween party goers sneak into a local spooky costume shop where they find a strange scroll made of human skin. When opening it and reading it aloud it revives a 300-year-old witch and a horde of ghouls, vampires & werewolves who head off into town to raise some mischeif and do a little holiday partying to boot!

There’s some great casting, we get some totally sweet 80’s personalities, the likes of LeVar Burton, Shari Belafonte, Peter Deluise & Kurtwood Smith among other super recognizable tv stars of the era. The whole thing is just so innocently charming, while still at times hitting some surprisingly darker tones. It’s really got something for everyone here, a bit of genuine horror, teen comedy (with some rather riske’ undertones for a tv movie), nostalic music, even a totally original 80’s song & dance number by Shari Belafonte called “Get Dead” to keep the party going all the way to midnight. There’s even a bit of a teenage love story at play here as well that features a ghostly teenage girl from the 1950’s who’s revived as well by the creepy incantation who roams the streets looking for love.

The Midnight Hour was directed by Jack Bender who went on to direct ‘Child’s Play 3’ (and a few other interesting made for tv movies as well) and it’s clear here he’s already got a penchant for horror. So if you’re looking for something totally nostalgic and a ton of halloween fun without getting too gory or scary, look no further, The Midnight Hour is a great opener for a double feature movie night. A warm up for some real scares of whatever you choose to fully creep out those who dare to stick around!

Movie Review: Thankfully ‘GLASS’ is the Opposite of a Marvel Movie!

So there’s a damn big ‘split’ (no pun intended!) in movie goer’s opinions on M. Night Shyamalan’s latest movie ‘Glass’. The long awaited sequel to both ‘Unbreakable’ and ‘Split’ has caused a ton of debate online, some think it’s the perfect end cap to Shyamalan’s “Eastrail 177” trilogy other’s think it’s a boring waste of two hours. For me I found it to be a compelling end to the saga, in fact I saw the critics bashing this movie so hard that I was truly expecting the worst going in. I mean Shyamalan’s let me down before in big ways (The Happening, The Last Airbender anyone?) so I was fully prepared to begin my next phase of “hatin’ on the guy” once again. Luckily he stuck to his guns and in my opinion delivered a smart, tense & mysterious movie that feels right in line with ‘Unbreakable’ & ‘Split’. He definitely subverted my expectations, not in the same way Rian Johnson did with ‘The Last Jedi’ but in a way which I’ve come to appreciate early on in M. Night’s career. I was hoping that it would avoid trying to be a “Marvel” movie, something it seems all big Hollywood productions are desperately trying to replicate using a somewhat, imo, tired film making style, mixing their usual “witty banter comedy” with gigantic bloated CGI battles, that at this point makes me begin to nod off in theaters.

Instead he creates smaller scale action sequences that feel real, tense and important when they occur. I’ve grown pretty damn bored with the modern superhero movies and their predictable tropes and overuse of green screens & rubbery cartoony CGI action sequences. Glass feels like it could actually happen in the real world and I was pretty scared Night was going to try and tap into that Marvel-esque money making formula that’s all the rage. Thankfully it feels like a natural progression to what came before it, more like a Christopher Nolan style superhero film than ‘Infinity War’ or ‘Aquaman’. That being said I can see how modern audiences conditioned to the ultra fast paced video gamey CGI action stuff would find plenty of reasons to be pissed off at this one. Its a dramatic supernatural thriller with slight elements of the superhero genre sprinkled about, I think ‘Glass’ will surely satisfy fans of the the two previous installments.

That all being said the movie does have plot points I found a bit disappointing. Not because they were bad moves, but because it didn’t go the way I ENVISIONED it to. The movie sets up the audience for things that might not occur at all and this all works as it feels like the real world as opposed to ‘The Last Jedi’ which is based in 100% fantasy in an established universe spanning back to the 1970’s. Shyamalan’s decisions left me disappointed and heart broken, but not in a way that destroyed the film’s appeal to me. It made me want to go back and watch all three in order and the films third act subverts expectations in ways I never saw coming. It feels like Shyamalan wasn’t merely looking to cash in on his new “superhero universe” but rather had a complete story he was willing to start and end. It was bizarre seeing a movie that didn’t feel like it was trying to tease the next installment. It brought back familiar faces from Unbreakable and Split as well and all of them were wonderful in the roles, I’ve got to admit though the characters didn’t do what I’d originally imagined they’d do. Again, I kinda appreciate that.

A few things that bothered me? Wanting more of Bruce Willis and Sam Jackson interacting, but I guess we got a heap of that way back in Unbreakable and there’s some clear problems with how Jame’s Mcavoy’s character was kept imprisoned in the mental ward where the three of them were locked up in. Minor qualms really, my major being one of the key events that occurred at the end left me perplexed and actually quite saddened. Again never expecting they’d go there and go that direction. So all in all ‘Glass’ is one I highly recommend, I give it an ‘A minus’ as it left me thinking about it a couple days later and left me wanting a second viewing now that my expectations aren’t there. Night delivers a beautiful, tense, realistic superhero character piece that fully enhances what came before it. Check it out, but don’t expect your usual superhero flick!

Movie Review: Crazy Christmas Twists & Turns in ‘Better Watch Out’!

 Deck the halls people! I checked out the new Christmas thriller / horror flick “Better Watch Out” last night as I was beginning to crave me some holiday themed mayhem! I really had no idea just what to expect, but had heard this one had a few twists and turns under it’s belt and of course I love creepy Christmas movies so why the hell not kick off the holiday season with a possible bang. ‘Better Watch Out’ is indeed an interesting movie, especially because it of it’s clever mind game it plays at it’s nasty core. More thriller than horror, with it’s fair share comedy and seemingly lighthearted holiday seasoned set up.

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Movie Review: ‘Don’t Breathe’ Will Take Your Breath Far Away !

This year has been a good one for hyper crazy thrillers that kick your ass all over the theater- seeing two movies so far that successfully beat the tar out of the audience. The first was the incredible ‘Green Room’ and second being ‘Don’t Breathe’ the new movie from Fede “Evil Dead” Alvarez. Let me tell ya his new movie released this last weekend is a nonstop nail biter! It lives up to the hype. It’s got the grimy goods and then some and you’re not likely to find anyone able to dose off during this crazy ass thriller.

The story is simple, set in the desolate, barren areas of  Detroit Michigan, three young burglars plan to rob a down on his luck blind man who’s recently gotten a six figure payment for the death of his daughter. As you might guess things don’t go quite as planned because by now everyone knows blind people are all total badasses. I guess that’s the way it goes down in the movies anyway right? Well this particular blind guy should face off with Daredevil sometime cuz he’d likely give him a serious ass  whoopin!

I really don’t want to give away much of the plot as it is full of some interesting twists and turns. What I will say is Alvarez pulls no punches here, much like his ‘Evil Dead’ reboot this one rarely gives you a chance to breathe, only this one to it’s advantage has a much more likable cast. It’s a dark and gritty tale that really excels because of it’s completely convincing actors and incredible set piece. Yeah, the blind man’s old decaying home is a perplexing dark labyrinth of nooks and crannies with plenty of surprises tucked away. You’ll never feel more frustrated about trying find an exit out as this one unfolds. This movie’s got one helluva “final girl” too played by Jane Levy, she’s definitely got the chops!

The “villain” is played with amazing ferocity by Stephen Lang who’s hulking presence gives him an almost superhuman quality. It’s strange too how this movie turns the concept of facing off with a blind person into an incredibly menacing experience. You’d think the opposite but here the fact that he IS blind is one of the most terrifying things about the whole experience. Never has sneaking around been more nerve wracking! This is easily one of the most intense movie theater experiences I’ve had in quite some time.

I highly recommend this one for people who like being on the very edge of their seats with a racing heart for 90 minutes. For those who can’t hack it this one definitely won’t give you the warm fuzzies. The movie isn’t really full of crazy gore or anything like that but it’s a tightly packed mega tense cat and mouse game unlike anything you’ve probably seen before. It’s really one giant epic battle. I’d also like to ad that this ones likely going to go down in history for making you never look at turkey baster the same. That I promise – check this out if you’re feeling like a challenge!  

 

 

Best of VHS Box Art: The Spookies!!!

Here’s an incredible piece of artwork from an awesome 80’s horror movie called The Spookies. I’ve always loved this cover and remember it from waaaaay back when I was a kid in the video store. I only recently saw the movie and it was a damn fun time. I come to find out that the movie was actually supposed to be called “Twisted Souls” and had financial problems causing  post production on the movie to come to a halt in 1984. A year later the movie was pieced together with a different director filming additional story lines to finalize the movie in a somewhat cohesive manner with the existing footage. If you get a chance to check out The Spookies it’s worth it, especially if you were a fan of the video for Michael Jackson’s Thriller video. It feels like these guys must have been big fans for sure! 

In ‘Green Room’ Oregon Punk Rock Gets Dangerous!

Did you see Blue Ruin? If not then you better check that shit out right away as it was one of the best indie thrillers of the last few years! Now we’ve finally got a full trailer for the upcoming ‘Green Room’ from ‘Blue Ruin’ director Jeremy Saulnier and boy does it look like a tense one. This flick is one I’ve been waiting for quite some time and one of my picks for 2016 movies I’m most excited about.

It follows an Washington punk rock band who play a show out in a rural Oregon roadhouse that turns deadly when a gang of white supremacist skin heads show up to spoil the party and then some. Better yet it stars Patrick Stewart as the gang’s leader / club owner and Anton “Chekov” Yelchin as one of the members of the band who’ve gotta fight their way through the night to survive. Due out April 15th, Check out this trailer, this one is sure to deliver quite a punch!

 

 

“The Boy” is a Creepy, Fun but Oddly Familiar Thriller….

Let’s face the facts folks, right now at the major theaters the pickins’ are damn slim for anything super tantalizing. So yesterday feeling the urge to go to the movies with a Fandango gift card I received for Christmas, I decided to take a chance on the latest in “freaky” doll flicks (which I always welcome with open arms) with “The Boy”. I gotta say the bar was set were pretty freaking low here and I was expecting the worse from a major Hollywood horror flick released in January. However to my delight The Boy was actually a pretty solid little thriller! For the most part…

That’s not to say it broke much in the way of new ground but still it was the perfect little matinee movie for a rainy day. This one isn’t going to give Chucky a run for his money and in all honesty it’s a completely different kind of freaky doll movie altogether. If you’re looking for a crazy killer doll flick then you’re in the wrong part of town with The Boy. Most of it’s charm really comes from the setting, which takes place in a huge old mansion in the English countryside. A woman named Greta travels there from the USA taking a nanny job watching over a life sized porcelain boy doll. Yeah at first her reaction is exactly what you might expect but the money is good enough so she agrees. Of course when “the boy’s” parents decide to go on vacation things quickly get really creepy.

Greta of course when left alone does what any of us might do in the situation, toss the freaky ass doll in it’s room, drink some damn wine and pass the hell out. However “the boy” clearly isn’t into being ignored and soon begins to seriously creep Greta the fuck out. Yep the doll pulls all kinds of weird pranks, soon she’s convinced the doll is indeed alive and is haunted by the spirit of the family’s real deceased child. So she suddenly decides to do her damn job and begin’s treating the doll like a real kid. Yon know like she agreed to in the first place! You’d think then the story might have a happy ending though right? Wrong! I forgot to mention that Greta is also on the run from her super douchebag, stalker ex boyfriend.

This makes matters worse and what happens soon leads to a few relatively unexpected twists and turns. Overall the movie was a cool little old school thriller with not a speck of bad CG anywhere. A solid ghost story and to only be spoiled for me by the fact (Now here’s a bit of a SPOILER) that I’d already seen an incredible indie movie from 2015 called “Housebound”. Yep “The Boy” borrows largely from that movie, which is a far superior movie. However if you’ve never seen Housebound “The Boy” will most certainly please anyone in search of a simple, creepy tale that’s perfect when there’s not much else on the tube.  

Fortress – Awesome 80’s Oddball Australian Survival Adventure at it’s BEST!!

So you’re looking for an awesome 80’s survival flick huh? Well look no further because “Fortress” from 1985 delivers the goods big time!! This one seems to be somewhat of a forgotten gem, it was released on HBO back in the 80’s and later in 86′ in theaters in Australia where the movie was produced. I take great joy in watching awesome (or bad) movies from the 1980’s that some slipped under my radar for some reason and this one pretty much non stop awesomeness. It tells the simple story of a school teacher who’s class comes under attack by shotgun wielding masked psychos hell bent on taking everyone captive and hiding them in a cave in the Australian outback.

All goes as planned until the teacher (Rachel Ward) decides to take matters into her own hands. You got a ton of action, some truly awesome locales, creepy bad guys (one who with a Santa Claus mask) and a bit of an Amblin “kids in danger” style film making here that was surely missed by the masses.

Right around the third act the movie gets pretty intense when the teacher and her students become a major force to be reckoned with. Almost transforming into bloodthirsty “Lord of the Flies” type savages the finale of this film is awesome.

Then add in the shocking end scene the movie becomes even  more perplexing and unforgettable! Trust me if you’re a fan of weird 80’s  horror/thriller/kids movie hybrid flicks then this one will not disappoint!! You can get this one right on Netflix too!

Crazy Crazy Cat Man: “ROAR” Finally Gets It’s Debut in the USA!

Holy shit! I had the pleasure of seeing a screening last night of one of the most insane flicks I’ve ever seen at the Hollywood Theater right here in good ol’ Portland, Oregon! Yep “Roar” from 1981 has been called the most dangerous film ever made. This is hardly an exaggeration- It took about five years to make. It’s story revolves around Tippi Hedren and Noel Marshall, (writer, director, actor in the film)  along with Hedren’s real-life daughter Melanie Griffith and Marshall’s real-life sons John and Jerry.

Oh yeah and it also stars their real life adopted family of over 100 dangerous lions, tigers, panthers and cheetahs!! This movie is seriously insane, and had me cringing in fear around every corner as Noel Marshall is surrounded by these giant cats for nearly the entire movie. The plot is simple Marshall lives in Africa in a Swiss Family Robinson style house along with all of these man eating cats and a giant pissed off African elephant. The rest of his family (like in real life, Tippi in the movie, is his wife though they’re separated in the film) decide to drop by unexpectedly, only problem is dad isn’t there when they arrive….but the CATS are!

This movie is utter mayhem, filmed with just a loose plot, most all of the one million feet of footage shot depended on what the cats decided to do while shooting. These cats in the movie are considered Marshall’s harmless buddies, though he’s tackled, smothered and in the middle of raging giant cat fights pretty much nonstop throughout the film. To see these actors deliver their lines while in the midst of these beasts is quite a hilarious feat to say the least!

Now onto the other crazy fact of this film, no animals were harmed in the filming but over 70 cast and crew members were!! Much of the injury can be seen on film, though carefully edited. Here’s a list of exactly what when down via the Wiki page:

“Cinematographer Jan de Bont had his scalp lifted by a lion, resulting in 220 stitches. Tippi Hedren received a fractured leg and also had scalp wounds. This occurred after an elephant bucked her off its back while she was riding it. She was also bitten in the neck by a lion and required 38 stitches. This incident can also be seen in the film. Melanie Griffith(Hedren’s daughter) was also attacked, receiving 50 stitches to her face; it was feared she may lose an eye but in the end the wound was not disfiguring. 

Jan de Bont after the lion attack!

Noel was attacked so many times that he eventually was diagnosed with gangrene. One of those incidents, he was clawed by a cheetah when protecting the animals during a bushfire that occurred in 1979. All animals were evacuated, though it took several years for him to recover from his injuries. Due to the injuries, turnover was high as many did not want to return to the set. Some of the lions also suffered from illnesses that reduced their population. John Marshall was bitten by one of the lions and required 56 stitches. His brother Jerry was bitten in the foot while wearing tennis shoes. He later jokingly said the lion had a “tennis shoe fetish.” Assistant Director Doron Kauper had his throat bitten open, his jaw was bitten, and one of the lions attempted to rip an ear off. He was also injured in the head, chest, and thigh. Although it has been reported that the attack nearly proved fatal, the Santa Cruz Sentinel on July 9, 1978 printed a quote from a nurse saying his injuries were acute. He was also reported as being conscious and in a fair condition.

Sound pretty unbelievable huh? Well after watching this movie, which was never officially released in the US until now it’s pretty clear how the insane list of injuries is totally accurate with what you witness before you! There’s a ton of crazy stunts and an angry elephant scene that will scare the pants off of you! The cats were adopted by Hendren and Marshall from defunct circuses, zoos & irresponsible owners and given refuge at The Shambala Preserve  just about 50 miles outside of Los Angeles which they started together. in fact you can still visit the preserve today. Before you do though make sure you do not miss this movie it’s a truly incredible piece of cinema and one experience you’re likely to never forget!