I’ve been looking forward to Jason Eisener’s ‘Kid’s vs. Aliens’ since I heard the ‘Hobo With a Shotgun’ director was making a feature length film based on his awesome short horror segment in V/H/S/ 2. Granted it’s been a long time since I’ve seen it, I remember really digging the concept and execution of it.
The simple premise of this movie is so right up my alley it feels like it almost was tailor made just for me. In a nutshell some kids have a Halloween party that goes off the rails when evil aliens descend upon their lakeside household. The alien visitors for the most part resemble our traditional “Greys”, which I find to be one of the most terrifying creatures of the more modern era. I guess though they’d be more in line with what we saw in 2014’s ‘Extraterrestrial’ though (minus the CGI) than say the brilliantly bizarre 1989 Whitley Strieber biopic ‘Communion’. That being said, you’ve gotta admire how ambitious this movie is with all of its practical effects work and not a shred of CGI really anywhere to be found. Add in a lean run time of around 75 minutes (68 of them actual movie time) and you’ve got a nice, fast paced horror adventure at the ready.
Plus the main kid protagonists of this movie are also quite charming for the most part. None of them get bogged down in modern online politics or social commentary, they’re just kids in danger with wildly filthy mouths being….kids. In essence they’re a fairly solid attempt of mixing the kids in Stand By Me with The Goonies. I’d say for the first 3rd of the movie I was pretty sure this might end up being one of my favorite horror films of 2023. It’s got a lot of heart at its core as well (maybe trying a bit too hard at times) and characters who you can for the most part get behind on this weird little ride.
However with ALL of that going for it, still there’s something here that in my opinion just didn’t quite click the way it should’ve. That’s not to say this isn’t a fun little movie, becuz it is. It just misses the mark at being a modern horror classic, maybe because they’re trying just a bit too hard at mostly everything they attempt to sell the audience. It’s same problems I had at times with 2013’s ‘Knights of Badassdom’ a movie which I do admittedly still enjoy quite a bit.
I guess I would say what it does succeed at being is a pretty excellent R-rated “Goosebumps” movie. In many ways, even the way it’s filmed looks a little bit like a vintage Goosebumps episode for better or for worse at times. I guess my problem was maybe my personal expectations weren’t quite met in the way I’d initially hoped for. Though this movie in many ways borrows heavily from the likes of classics like Fire In The Sky, it really lacks the intensity, atmosphere and mystery that could have pulled from it, even if just a little bit of it. The aliens In my opinion are shown way too much in plain sight. All of the things that make grey aliens so terrifying is completely absent here, they run around roaring like enraged grizzly bears.
The aliens also look a bit too much like men in rubber suits, which I usually don’t mind, but easily hiding them a bit more might have benefited this greatly. More of the monsters isn’t always better. Overall though I do appreciate the almost entirely practical nature of this film’s special effects. It’s refreshing to see filmmakers getting a bit more old school these days!
Though the characters for the most part are fun wonky children, they do try a bit too hard to sell us that on all levels. Much of the character development feels a bit forced. The kids and their antagonist teen enemies end up being somewhat over the top caricatures and don’t always feel like “real’ people. The kids are NERDS, the older teen sister-hero is a NERD and the teens are really reeeeally meanies who don’t like NERDS. By the middle of the movie I found myself wishing their personas had been toned down. They started to feel like they were written by the “modern day Kevin Smith” or something. Ok, well maybe not that bad. Instead of growing to like them more as the movie progressed, I found myself becoming slightly annoyed with everyone’s behaviors and actions even if they were good in nature.
Looking at it now though with zero expectations, it’s still one I do plan on revisiting again. It’s got plenty of action and really does try to feature a cast of heartwarming lead characters and pathetically almost unbelievably evil teen villains to you are basically told to hate anytime they appear. It also takes place on Halloween and makes it prime viewing for the holiday. There’s a lot of good here so don’t get me wrong, I just feel like someone needs to put together an amazing home invasion Grey alien horror film and do it the right way. In the perfect world I was hoping this would be a mix of 1989’s Communion and maybe like Evil Dead. (here’s a still photo from Communion).
Instead it leans hard into the campy territory and doesn’t skimp on some impressive Gore FX either. Perhaps it’s really my own expectations that took this down a few pegs for myself, with all the crappy stuff out there streaming I do think there’s a lot of fun to be had. Check this one out, it’s worth a rental, but don’t go in expecting it to be quite as cool as his segment was in V/H/S 2. Still thank you Jason for adding an entertaining alien invasion flick to the cinematic horror library!
I’m not gonna waste too much time reviewing the hell out of ‘Nope’ because I know that it’s soooooo 2 weeks ago! But being as finicky as I am about new new Hollywood summer blockbuster movies I’ve got to take at least a moment here to tell you how fucking much I enjoyed the new Jordan peel movie!
I went into this one with no real expectations except that I might get another tale covering ssome sort of allegory about race or modern culture. However with the modern “culture war” and basically the world at each other’s throats, falling apart I’ll have to be quite honest, I really wasn’t in the mood to think more about real world injustices or real life human struggles as I entered the theater.
Thankfully Jordan Peele decided to give us a mysterious compelling monster movie with no real strings attached but with plenty of layers to peel and dissect. Nope will leave you pondering all of the unique plot points sprinkled about for days. Our duo of well crafted main characters are black ranchers and he doesn’t need to make some sort of big statement about it. They’re just great characters who happen to be black. It also features some very curious and intriguing supporting characters one being a fairly convincing CGI chimpanzee that almost steals the show!
Nope really harkens back to the golden era of Stephen Spielberg movies in the best way possible But adding a much more sinister, brooding touch. After trying to make it through his rebooted Twilight Zone series I was beginning to have my doubts about his next film as I wasn’t a big fan of ‘Us’ , that being said, trying to follow up the brilliant ‘Get Out’ seems like an impossible feat. Fortunately he was able pull it off with ease with his 3rd full length movie which is just as mindbending in my opinion at least as his first.
A beautiful looking movie filled with A super solid cast, great locales and an excellent creature design make this a truly engaging movie to see in the theater and so much more than I was expecting. It’s a different animal altogether than the summer Hollywood blockbuster you might be expecting.
Don’t go in thinking you’re gonna get Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness type effects either. Peele uses CGI sparingly and perfectly to create something that feels visceral, real and highly imaginative in today’s landscape of bloated big budget sludge. If you haven’t seen Nope yet go into the movie completely blind if you can, the less you know the better. What plays out on screen I think is one of the best cinematic events of 2022 hands down.
I just recently ran across a pretty promising looking VHS tape, at least from the cover, ‘High Desert Kill’ from 1989 has all the right ingredients for one hell of a horror flick!
Marc Singer, The Beastmaster himself, rounds out the cast in this intriguing tale of terror in the deserts of New Mexico. However don’t be too dead set on blood-and-guts in this tale of survival. There’s really not a lick of gore to be found anywhere on screen for it’s entire run time.
It actually plays out like a bit of an extended episode of the X-Files (minus the Mulder and Scully type aspect) and I mean that as a compliment. I guess this was indeed a made for cable TV movie, don’t let that deter you though, cuz there’s a lot of forgotten gems in that category. We’ve got a great setting with 3 manly dudes who head out on a camping/hunting excursion deep in the desert in honor of their long lost deceased friend. There’s plenty of testosterone here going around as these sweaty often shirtless guys begin to almost immediately encounter some eerie occurrences upon arriving the first evening as well as some hot “hippie” babes (At least that’s what they seem to think they are for some reason) to liven up the party.
But things quickly go South as they start experiencing hallucinations and begin to believe they are being stalked by some unseen malevolent force. The desert of New Mexico is the perfect place for this creepy tale to unfold, it’s filled with plenty of mystery and the stunning beauty showcasing its natural surroundings..
To be honest the setting here is really the star of the show, there’s not a hell of a lot of spectacle to behold otherwise visually. No real flashy special effects or balls to the wall action sequences. However what it seems to lack in spectacle it makes up for with atmosphere, cleverly mixing a sense of dread and mystery at play with these old friends as the plot begins to slowly unfold and reveal it’s ugly details. The cover of the movie however does reveal perhaps a little more than it should with an alien spacecraft high in the sky, but don’t expect too much of that either and don’t expect too many skeletons to be rearing their ugly heads.
Despite those minor quibbles there’s plenty to love here and the cast of characters makes this weirdo trip one worth taking. It also features a pretty interesting backstory, shrouded and Native American mythology. If you’re in the mood for a simple slowburn with a pretty satisfying twist to it ‘High Desert Kill’ will be more than sufficient watch for any fanatic of erie eighties sci fi. I also see that currently Kino Lorber has a preorder for this one on blu ray– check it out!
You like classic alien abduction flicks as much as I do? Well the recently released ‘Dark Encounter’ brings to mind movies like ‘Communion’, ‘Fire in the Sky’, ‘Close Encounters’ but also brings some new dramatic plot points to the traditional alien abduction story. Basically we’ve got a small town scenario here where a family’s 8 year old daughter suddenly goes missing one sunny afternoon while home alone. A year passes, with no clues of her whereabouts and the family, along with some close friends gather at their home for a memorial, still trying to come to terms with what happened to her. As the night descends upon their gathering so does a seemingly sinister alien force. Mysterious lights in the sky are seen and soon members of the family begin to go missing in the woods that surrounds the house. It’s not long before the strange lights fill the home and the remaining must try to survive the night while piecing together the very mystery for which they gathered.
It all takes place in the 1980’s and much of it’s imagery is clearly influenced by those classics like ‘E.T’. & ‘Close Encounters’ but it still manages to set those similarities apart by going in unexpected directions. It starts off as the classic extraterrestrial abduction story but ends up with revelations far more disturbing to the family dynamic set up earlier. It looks great too, beautifully shot with plenty of tense scenes set out in the woods while strange colors shine through the trees. They capture a sense of a looming alien presence that’s purely unsettling and mysterious creating some great scenes of raw tension. There’s some great acting here as well, everyone’s quite convincing in their roles which lends tremendously to the mystery of it. As far as those little green men though, people waiting for alien mayhem might walk away a bit disappointed from Dark Encounter. While I ultimately appreciated the movie at it’s end for different reasons I was of course hoping things were going to climax with some human vs E.T. action. I still think someone needs to churn out a bonkers gray alien vs human abduction flick, I know it was attempted by ‘The Vicious Brothers’ with their 2014 film ‘Extraterrestrial’ and again with “Dark Skies” but somehow in my opinion just missed the mark.
That all being said I think Dark Encounter is most definitely worth watching for fans of the “Alien Abduction” film genre. It’s got an intriguing mystery at it’s core and goes in some surprising directions that also land it firmly into the family drama category as well. Hey if I’m going to watch a family drama this is the kind of move I want to do so with. It will leave you with a bittersweet feeling but it’s definitely an interesting encounter with visitors not of this Earth.
Real life monsters are something I wish we heard more about every damn day! Yeah there’s nothing quite like a good mysterious cryptid video surfacing. The only problem is that most of these, especially these days, can be easily faked digitally or of course with blurry cell phone footage to appear like something straight out of the X-Files. But not so fast folks!
Let’s take a look at some interesting videos quick of some supposed “real life monsters” caught on film within the last year or so. The first one is a totally legit video, of a giant boar, dubbed “pigzilla” that’s got the internet in a frenzy today. I’m a huge fan of the 1984 Aussie flick “Razorback” (pictured in the photo above) and this monstrous pig in the video proves to be a real life version of the 80’s creature in the flesh!
Moving on….What the hell is this?! This cool video features a seemingly big sea creature floating through the waters of the Gulf of Mexico recently. I’d hate to see this thing swimming beside me while snorkeling, some think it’s some sort of cephalopod, whatever it is it’s crazy to know things like this exist in the waters of planet Earth, real life aliens… Continue reading
If anyone out there likes their sci-fi with a side of brains and heart like I do then look no further! “The Signal” delivers and then some! Not to be mistaken for the zombie type “The Signal” flick from 2007, which was actually pretty decent. This is a completely different movie that only recently came out on dvd, Itunes ect. I’ve seen quite a bit of dumb ass sci-fi making it’s way to the masses over the years, so it’s great to see movies that actually challenge the brain like “Moon”, “Looper” or “The Europa Report” to name a few. The Signal, starring Brenton Thwaites and Laurence Fishburne is quite an adventure that will have you scratching your head in confusion and wonder all the way to the films incredibly tense climax.
The films premise starts out simple enough,On a road trip, Nic and two friends are drawn to an isolated area by a computer hacker, who’s been toying with them online all school year. Upon investigating an old seemingly abandoned house where the traced the hacker’s signal, one of them disappears. When everything suddenly goes dark, Nic regains consciousness – only to find himself alone & confused, in an odd medical facility. To give away anything would be a crime, but this one is indeed filled with some great twists and turns that will have you guessing all the way.
The Signal has top notch acting, incredible special effects and a ton of thrills that will have you on the edge of your seat. I’m excited to check out what else the film’s director William Eubank has done and what he’s got planned next. He’s certainly a director to watch in the future. I’m hoping that we can get more serious sci-fi elements into the next installments of something like Star Trek on the big screen, as even with the old episodes from the 1960’s they often had some really great plots that really made you think. An element that is often missing from modern sci-fi, instead we often end up with sci-fi for people with A.D.D.! So I say waste no time and check this one out right away if you want something truly unique, original and totally exciting!!
So there have been a couple strange things that have happened this week around the world, the first being the amazing Norwegian Vortex that was seen in the early hours of the morning on Dec 9th. This UFO in the sky hasn’t been explained yet but the government is calling it the result of a possible unsuccessful missle launch. I’m calling some B.S. on that one. How many unsuccessful launches have there been? How many times have people seen something like this in the sky?! Pretty amazing if you ask me. It looks like a portal to another dimension. Hopefully this is the start of some serious questioning! I am in the midst of getting more info on this right now but check this out if you haven’t seen it already…
Who says Wisconsin is just all cheese and beer? Well it is, but you know what else it has to offer? Haunted treasures! I myself grew up in Wisconsin and my family has a cottage there up in the north woods in a small quaint city called Three lakes. There are many strange stories that can be told about that area but one that remains most famous is about forty five minutes north of Three Lakes on road an old railway used to run through. There you can view the ghostly “The Paulding Light” (also reffered to as the Dog Meadows Light) and for years this has been a mystery!