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Darko's Recently Viewed Diary
American Grindhouse - An interesting documentary charting the evolution of grindhouse cinema though like most documentaries on cinematic movements a large portion of the area is overlooked. Loaded with clips and famous talkin heads it's an informative if rather short overview of one of the most constantly entertaining genres in cinema.0
Bone Dry - One of those great ideas let down by a lackstruck script, it's pretty much Saw in a desert with the always reliable Lance Henriksen and Luke Goss impressing. The last ten minutes completely tears the film apart turning what could have been a satisfying little piece into a film which strives to something much more.0
Lifeforce - A thoroughly entertaining sci-fi/horror from back in the days when the words Directed by Tobe Hooper werent a warning. The original title, Space Vampires perfectly sums up the film.It's good old-fashioned fun which is well worth a watch.0
The Hills Run Red - This is how you made a lowbudget direct to DVD slasher film. You write a witty, intelligent, gore laden script which features nods to the genre but never becomes a parody. For anyone who feels that the cookie cutter nature of modern horror has become to repetitive it's the perfect antidote.0
While She Was Out - Technically I wouldn't classify this as a horror film but it seems that most do. The simple premise should lead to a decent film but unfortunately it's one fo those great ideas butchered. There's absolutely no sense of impending doom, no suspense, mediocre acting and 90% of the film is bathe in darkness meaning that at times it's almost impossible to see what's going on. THere is one fun kill but it's not enough to recommend the film and the ludicrously over the top ending which is over before you get a sense of what's happening ends things on a low.0
The Craft - One of those films which surprised me by how entertaining it is. There's nothing stunningly original or amazing about the film but it does manages to entertain through a great story, some decent acting and a number of great scenes.
Rise - Shockingly bad vampire film with Lucy Liu. Some of the shoddiest editing that I have ever seen coupled with a story which feels the pre credits sequence of a far superior film. featuring a cast who really should know better and a cameo from Marilyn Manson it's a thoroughly repetitive mess which really isn't worth your time.
The Breed - One of my all time favourite low-budget horror films. With a unique take on the vampire mythos, some great action scenes and a cast who by and large deliver. I've watched it repeatedly over the past decade and am constantly entertained by it. It's 90 minutes of stylistic action with a good story and a truly great final death scene.0
Adrenalin: Fear the Rush - From one of the most reviled directors to ever work, Adrenalin is one of those action horror films which has a great basic idea but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Christopher Lambert is his usual gruff self and his lack of screen time is regrettable. Worth a watch if you've 90 minutes to kill but for Gods sake ensure you get the uncut version and not the butchered 70 minute cut.
Outpost - One of those truly great hidden gems. Outpost is one of the most inventive and exciting low-budget films of the past few years. A great cast, a unique and entertaining story and a number of great scenes make it well worth your time.
Roadkill - Another hidden gem which most people write off before even giving a chance. The cast including Steve Zahn and Paul Walker are great and the story has enough twists and turns to keep you interested. It's a bloodless version of the Hitcher but still manages to rack up the tension to 10.
Dracula 3000 - A truly dreadful film which has absolutely no redeeming factors. A dreadful story, atrocious acting, effects which would have look dated 20 years ago and one of the worst endings in cinema history. The best thing that can be said about the film is that the DVD will make a nice coaster.0
Nightbreed - Another of my all time favourite horror films. It's just an absolutely stunning looking film with superb character design, a rich and involving mythology and story and some truly breathtaking moments. The only drawback is that much of what Barker shot was cut at the last-minute by a studio who had no faith in a film which portrays the monster sympathetically. Recent discoveries of the excised footage has led to speculation of a directors cut but I'm not holding my breath. For anyone who has yet to experience Nightbreed it really is a film which you should go out of your way to pick up asap.0
Dead Silence - Dead Silence is one of the creepiest films of the past decade. With little in the way of gore of shock tactics it instead relies on a truly astonishing atmosphere of dread which will have you right on the edge of your seat right through to the credits. It features one of the most genuinely chilling baddies in horror history and is a real throw back to the past masters.0
High Lane - It's the French The Hills Have Eyes and while there isnt an ounce of originality on display, some poor writing and questionable character motivations it's still an entertaining 80 or so minutes though the ending which tries to pass it all off as a true story does leave a sour taste in the mouth. Watch it with your expectations suitably lowered and you'll find yourself enjoying the film.0
Le Horde - Le Horde is pretty much Left 4 Dead the film, a high-octane, breakneck thrill ride with some truly fantastic moments of violence. More of an action film than straight up horror but even still it's years ahead of the crap the Romero has been churning out lately. Die Hard of the Dead is perhaps the most apt description of what is the most entertaining zombie film of the past few years.0
Fright Night - Fright Night remains one of the greatest horror films ever made, one which has frights, laughs and even a few moments where tears are in order. It's the perfect vampire film and one which every self respecitng horror fan has to have seen. It features one of my favourite performances of all time from the great Roddy McDowall as Peter Vincent, a role which he was bron to play. To see Fright Night once is to fall in love with it.0
Raw Meat - Donald Pleasence at his most brilliant in what is a pretty decent film by anyones standards. The plot is simple, people are disappearing from the underground and it's all down to the work of a cannibalistic dwellers who call the tunnels their home. An effective little film with some outstanding moments but it's Pleasence who makes the film a must see.0
Fright Night Part 2 - A great sequel to one of the best films ver made. While not on par with the original it does more than enough to justify its existence and manages to stand on its own two feet. Both William Ragsdale and Roddy McDowell return to once more do battle with the forces of evil. I genuinely think that the character of Peter Vincent is one of the all time greats, hopefully David Tenant will do justice to McDowell in the remake. Fright Night 2 is the perfect double bill for Halloween when watched alongside the original and tbh if you havent seen the original you really can't call yourself a true horror fan.0
Heartless - Heartless is an absolutely stunning film featuring some gorgeous cinematography, interesting creature design and a constant sense of dread. The film is reminiscent of the equally fantastic The Truth About Demons two films which back to back make a perfect double bill. Watching Heartless it's difficult not to constantly expect John Constantine to walk on-screen at any moment given just how well the film captures the mood of the comic series.0
The Plague - Billed as a Clive Barker film the Plague is in fact a rather low-key, story driven film from writer/director Hal Masonberg. It's an entertainINg romp with some very well handled moments though watching it you can't help but wish to see the proper directors cut. Barker and his fellow producers recut the film substantially, removing an hour of footage, they concentrated on violence rather than allowing for a truly great slow burning horror film.0
Flight of the Living Dead: Outbreak on a Plane - Enjoyable hokum which does exactly as it says on the case. There's a plane, there are zombies and there's a whole lot of carnage. Trashy fun at it's best, featuring the always value for money Kevin J. O'Connor. If you're a fan of B movies then Flight of the Living Dead is the perfect nights viewing.
Body Snatchers - Abel Ferrara how I love thee work. It's no secret that I'm a Ferrara fanboy aswell as a lover of old school sci fi/horror so this for me is heaven. Rather than simply remake/adapt the source material the film instead concentrates on an isolated outbreak which allows for more defined characters. WHile it's not the best adaptation of the novel it certainly is a lot of fun and well worth seeking out.0
Re-Animator - Spatterific fun, one of my all time favourite horror films till stands up magnificently nearly a decade after I first watched in glee as Herbert West played with the dead. Jeffrey Combs is the out-and-out star here, he's one of those rare actors whose very presence no matter how bad the film is will guarantee that I watch it. For anyone who hasn't seen Re-Animator, it's a loose adaptation of Lovecraft's tale with a dash of Frankenstein thrown in for effect. Re-Animator is something of a forgotten gem and like many other 80s gems it ripe for rediscovery and I cannot stress this enough, you cannot call yourself a fan of splatter horror until you have seen Re-Animator and fell in love with a certain Dr. West.
Bride of Re-Animator The Frankenstein influence is slightly more obvious here and while it's not a patch on the original Bride is a worthy follow-up which retains the originals dark humour while upping the gore and creature effects considerably. It's more of the same with most of the original cast returning thoughHerbert Wests return is never explained.IF you don't find the thought of a dog with a human hand or laugh at the thought of Jeffrey Combs sneaking bodies out of hospitals you're best advised to look elsewhere. But for fans of the original or those with a love of all those dark it's good fun.
Undead or Alive - For some reason I adore Undead or Alive. One of those films which is guaranteed to put a smile on my face no matter how down I feel. Chris Kattan and James Denton play 2 cowboys who end up facing off against a horde of the recently departed. With plenty of laughs, some fantastic effects and a great story Undead or Alive is a truly fantastic little film which few have seen let alone heard of.0
Jack's Back - An entertaining oddity from before back James Spader warped into William Shatner 2,0 The plot is simple, on the 100th anniversary the Ripper killings a serial killer is recreating Jack's kills. Spader does a Van Damme and plays twins albeit twins who never share any on-screen time. It's entertaining hokum with some good performances and a decent script.0
Route 666 - Lou "I used to have a career" Diamond Phillips takes on an undead road crew while transporting a prisoner to trial. From the director of the 80s classic Scarecrows, Route 666 is absolute nonsense from start to finish but that doesn't mean that it's not entertaining hokum. while it's not a film worth going out of your way to see it's at least got some original ideas and won't leave you felling robbed of 80 minutes.0
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale - It's rare that I get to experience a film completely blind but this was on one of thoserare occasions in which my quest to ignore all trailers, reviews, interviews or any mention of the film worked out.
Much like Monsters Rare Exports is being touted by many of publications as a genre defining piece and while it is a thoroughly entertaining film it does reek of budget limitations. The bizarre tonal shifts hamper the film with the ending being particularly odd and out-of-place, especially as the last third spends some time building up to a pay off which never transpires.
Still it's a very entertaingin film, which I could easily rewatch tomorrow.0
Been awhile since I updated this so here goes:
Reeker 2: Fantastic fun, plenty of gore, inventive deaths and a few laughs. Basically a remake of the original only with added story concerning the Reeker and his origins. It's never going to be considered a classic but for what it is, a low-budget, horror sequel its value for money.
Mutants: An interesting French horror film with great creature effects and gore but a sadly clichéd plot sinks the film into mediocrity. Had they spent a little more time on the plot and crafting an original story it could have been something truly special but as it stands it's entertaining enough but fails to stand out from the crowd.
Snakes aka Python 2: A thoroughly entertaining creature film with plenty of things going boom, some decidedly dicey effects and a constant sense of fun. Low budget as hell but far more fun than it has any right to be.
Resident Evil Extinction: Average enough switch off your brain fun. Milla kicks serious ass but he ropey effects and seen it all before plot sink the film into mediocrity.
Resident Evil After Life: Truly great fun, a series of set pieces strung together with a plot which would fit on the back of a napkin, One fo the few 3D films seen on blu Ray that really you wish you could have seen on the big screen.
Dracula 2000: some interesting ideas but a reliance on tried and tested clichés sinks this one down into the abyss of direct to DVD fare. performances are decent but it all looks oh so rather cheap.
Reptilian: absolutely dreadful Godzilla rip off, atrocious effects, kindergarten play acting, a story written by illiterate 4 year olds yet its strangely compelling. Worth watching just to see how bad cinema can be.
The Host: Superb Korean creature feature, great performances, superb effects and a story at once humours and heart breaking. One of the few recent creature features which realised that story trumps effects.
Dead Space Downfall: surprisingly entertaining and gory animated game tie in. THe voice acting is decent and the story is interesting but its the gore which really impresses. Some of the nastiest and most entertaining death scenes in many years.
Friday the 13th: entertaining if badly dated slasher fare, the waves of imitators have turned what was at the time an original concept into one which every bargain bin the world over is full of. Some nice death scenes and likeable characters help to keep the film well above the imitators.
Vampires: Classic Carpenter, just something immensely cool about it all. James Woods is a serious bad ass, the music rocks and the repeated scenes of Woods and a Baldwin abusing a hooker are hilarious. One of the most underrated horror films of the past few decades and a truly beautiful looking film.
Ghosts of Mars: Ughhhhh, from the obviously plastic swords to the dreadful editing this is one of Carpenter's lowest hours. Yet it's still entertaining as hell with plenty of ludicrous deaths and the cheapest set ever constructed.
The Fog: Atmospheric as hell, while dated it still remains one of the few horror films that can truly be credited with creating a true sense of evil. The acting is spotty but considering the low budget and quick shoot time this is easily forgiven especially considering just how good the film is, you can take your Jack Sparrow and shove it, these are real pirates.
Legion: a truly great concept and a fantastic 90 minutes let down by a woeful final 10. Some great action with Paul Bettany showing just what a bad ass he can be though the rest of the cast is wasted and the overtly talky nature of the film means that it's nowhere near as action filled as it promises to be. Still it does have some jaw dropping moments and is the second best film ever made about angels at war.
Burke and Hare: Dreadful attempt at a horror comedy, a poor mans I Sell the Dad with only Andy Serkis impressing. Skip it in favour of the much superior I Sell the Dead.
The Chaser: While I don't count it as a horror many do so I best include it. Superior thriller, a great concept, superb acting and a real sense of foreboding. One of the best films of the past few years and one which really improves the less you know going in.
I Saw the Devil: One of the best revenge films ever, truly gut wrenching at times and that it manages to sustain its self for over 2 hours is a testament to the quality of the writing. Like the Chaser it's best experienced cold.
Drive Angry 3D: This is good old-fashioned trash, a novel concept and a cast who over act just enough. Some great uses of 3D, the flash back scene has to be seen to be believed and lots of great deaths. A real throwback to the sleaze of yesteryear.
The Devil's Playground: A decent british spin on the rise of the dead. Danny Dyer is really good in what is an underwritten to hell role and there are some nice ideas in play but parkour zombies really don't do anything for me. For a low budget English horror film it's stylish, well made and entertaining but you can't help but wish they had thrown in a few more encounters with the undead.
Black Death: A true classic, Sean Bean was born to wield a sword. THe story, an exploration of faith is superbly handled with fine performances and gorgeous cinematography it's one of my all time favourite films and one which any true horror fan should seek out.
Resurrection Men: Mediocre slasher fare which strives to be so much more. A true missed opportunity, James Nesbit is miscast beyond belief in a role which truly shows his limitations,. John Hannah doesnt fare much better but only because of how 2D his character is. There are tethe h guts of a good film here but it needs more experienced writer and director to bring it out.
Highway to Hell: A lost classic, never released on DVD it stars Chad Lowe and Patrick Bergin in what is an original , well written and made film. Some great effects work and creatures never take away from the fun plot which features the best Hitler of all time.0
Brainscan - From the writer of Se7en and starring Edward Furlong the film is a strangelye satisfying little romp. Nothing wholly original or ground breaking but entertaining as hell and with a great villain though the best thing about the entire film is the rather brilliant and spooky theme.
Hobo With A Shotgun - A real gem, 80 minutes of over the top gore and laughs. Much like Black Dynamite it pays homage to the genre in a loving manner by highlighting the ridiculousness of many of the Grindhouse films but never making fun of them.
Manhunter - The best incarnation of Hanniable Lecktor, Michael Mann's adaptation of Red Dragon is a serious, well made and genuinely creepy film which is immensely re-watchable and features one of the most memorable finales of all time.
High Plains Invaders - Cowboys V Aliens, only made on less than the catering budget of its big screen brother. Some nice ideas and 1 good performance but low budget does drag it down. Worth a watch if there's nothing else on but not something you need to track down.
Rottweiler - An odd, odd film. Perhaps the only film about a killer cyborg dog which plays the entire thing without a hint of irony of laughs. It all looks rather great and Paul Nacshy is fun to watch but it's far too serious for its own good. It's worth a watch if you come across it as it really is something quite original and that is something to cherish.
The Deaths of Ian Stone - A good idea let down but an final third where ti all just falls apart. With creature effects from Stan Winston you expect something unique and not costumes which are forever hidden by cheap cgi smoke. it all looks rather cinematic and production values are high but the lack of any real originality does drag the film down.
Down - i bought this knowing nothing about it bar that the cast featured Michael Ironside and Ron Perlman. Expecting a generic B movie I was instead greeted with one of the most entertaining 100 minutes of film I have seen in a long time. The premise about an elevator which kills may seem like the most ridiculous concept ever but by playing it completeely straight and with great fx work it somehow really does work. It's teh kind of film best watched knowing as little about beforehand, and lets not forget the scene in which Ironside and Perlman talk is the B-Movie fans version of Heat.
God Told Me To - Larry Cohen is the God of genre cinema and this is perhaps his most impressive feat. it's hard to talk about the film without giving too much away but the plot concerns a spate of unrelated murder spree and when asked the killers motivations are always the same" God Told Me To". It's a great premise and one which could easily have been used for cheap laughs but Cohen is adept at working with hookey premises and plays it all straight creating one of the oddest and most original films you are ever likely to see.0
Apocalypse of the Dead - Also know as Zone of the Dead and starring Ken Foree AotD is perhaps one of the worst films in recent years. The decision to shoot it in English was a disastrous one given that English is a second language to most of the cast and as such line delivery is stilted and unbelievable, throw in the poor acting and each delivery of dialogue is cringe worthy.
The English speaking cast don't fare much better given how poor the dialogue is, Foree seems particularly lost with his constant twitching and the manner in which he seems to repeats certain words. The story is a shambles, you imagine that it they discovered the Foree was at a Serbian horror con and agreed to spend a few days to shoot a film after which the writers went home and hastily wrote the script over a 3 hour period.
Even teh worst horror films can be saved by some decent fxs work or gore, unfortunately there's nothing remotely interesting to be found here. While tehre are some hints of good fxs work the camera work is all over the place, with constant quick zooms and a camera man who seems to mistake flailing all over the place as creating a sense of realism.
Really there's nothing worthwhile on offer here and even the 2 euro I paid for the DVD feels like a rip off.0
Tucker & Dale vs Evil - I absolutely adore the film, one of the funniest I have seen in a long time and with enough fun deaths and gore to satisfy. It's a genius piece of film which manages to perfectly capture the mood of cabin in the woods films and sprinkle in enough genuine comedy moments to make it a must see. So good is it that I'm watching it again and looking forward to owning it.0
Mother's Day - Been looking forward to this for a long time and it didn't disappoint, a truly fantastic remake and a great film in it's own right. The original is a cult classic but this is good enough to be a true genre classic, great performances, a great script and direction and some genuinely fantastic deaths and situations.
Had I know that it was opening in cinemas here on Friday I would have waited but as it stands I'm quite happy to pay to see it this weekend and I've all ready ordered the Blu Ray which is out in Germany on the 9th of this month.0
Decided to do a quick in-depth review of Mother's Day after Darren Lynn Bousman asked me to share my thoughts of the film with imdb users.
Attempting to remake Mother's Day, a low budget and trashy Troma production form 1980 is certainly a daunting task. For while the film will never be considered anything other than cult it is so completely out there that once seen you can't help but love it. And love you will, but not because it's a great film in the traditional sense but rather because of just how fabulously trashy it is.
When approaching the remake it's important not go in expecting a faithful update, the set up remains the same but Darren Lynn Bousman's remake is an entirely different beast and one which is all the better for it. By dispensing with the kitsch humour and feel of the original Bousman has crafted a film which is for want of a better word truly terrifying.
The set up is simple, a married couple Daniel and Beth are celebrating Daniel's birthday in the basement of their new home with a group of friend, safely tucked away from an approaching tornado. Unbeknownst to Daniel and Beth their new home, obtained in a foreclosure auction was not so long ago home to the the Koffin Family, a force of nature far more terrifying than any tornado.
After a bank robbery gone wrong the three Koffin boys return home expecting to find their mother and sister but instead stumble onto the new owners. The set up may sound somewhat ordinary but the plot is far more intricate and layered than one would expect. Allegiances are constantly changing and evolving as friend turns against friend and as the night wears on and the body count mounts no one is leaf unscathed.
Much like the Dawn of the Dead Remake, Bousman has peppered the film with knowing nods to the original. Numerous lines of dialogue pay homage to Charles Kaufman film and Lloyd Kaufman even gets to cameo on the TV, in the background of one scene. It's obvious that Bousman loves the original and that he has poured his heart into creating not just a great remake but a truly superb film in it's own right.
The film is shocking violent at times and while this was to be expected the most surprising aspect of Mother's Day is just how well the psychological horror is implemented. This is not some watered down, run of the mill genre picture but one where the most unsettling moments are not the scenes of visceral violence, (of which there are much) but rather the reflective moments where our hostages are forced to look themselves in the eye and consider just what it is they have done. These are not two dimensional characters but fully formed people we come to care about and this doesn’t just apply to the hostage but also to the entire Koffin family. That none of our characters ever does anything stupid or unrealistic in a bid to escape keeps us constant involved and on edge.
The cast here are at the top of their game but it is Rebecca De Mornay and Jamie King who truly shine. De Mornay as the matriarch of the Koffin family is one of the most unsettling screen villains in a long time. That she never resorts to any form of grandstanding makes her truly realistic and all the more frightening as a result. She is also the only character in the film to have any form of moral system, while our hostages quickly turn on one another she truly values the family system and would do anything top preserve it, making her a somewhat sympathetic villain whose actions are not as straight forward as they initially appear. King as her main adversary turns in a grounded and strong performance becoming every bit De Mornays equal.
Special mention has to also go to Patrick John Flueger, Warren Kole, and Deborah Ann Woll who are simply astonishing as the Koffin kids. That said there is not a single weak performances in the entire film, everyone from villain to victim is at the top of the game and it must be said that it is refreshing to find a genre picture starring adults playing adults.
Mother's Day is easily the best remake in recent memory, it sits up there with John Carpenter's The Thing as a remake which not only betters the original film but is also superior to most other films. It's a sin that Mother's Day has yet to receive a wide theatrical release as it is easily one of the most terrifying, nail biting films of the past decade.0
Hard Ride to Hell - Hard Ride to Hell is a thoroughly ridiculous satanic bikers film which is a hell of a lot of fun. A real throw back to genre cinema of the 70s its entertaining as hell all the while be completely and utterly ludicrously bizzare.0
Untraceable - A trashy serial killer film with somewhat of an original premise, the killer broadcasts the murders online and the more people watch the quicker death comes. It's the traditional Hollywood serial killer procedural film, a killer whose far too smart and constantly 1 step ahead of the FBI and local police, a tough single mom FBI agent and a charming cop. It's derivative as hell, the tech is beyond ridiculous but in it's own way it's highly entertaining, that is once you accept that all logic has been thrown out the window.0
Lake Placid - Entertaining as hell creature feature. A little short running time but an abundance of great moments make it well worth a watch. The cast are great and the creature effects are very well handled.
Lockjaw: Rise of the Kulev Serpent - A truly terrible creature feature and an abysmal film in all areas. DMX cameos in what has to be the lowest rung in his career and manages to turn in one of the worst performances of anyones career. If the death or effects were in any way effective and fun the film could be worthwhile but alas it's one of the poorest films of the past decade.
Snakehead Terror - A fun little creature feature with the always watchable Bruce Boxleitner. Some effective deaths and impressive effects work make it a perfect beer and pizza film.
Dylan Dog: Dead of Night - Dylan Dog in name only but removed from the source material it's a very watchable film. The closest comparison is to Constantine the film, both film are fun and easily pass a few hours but they have nothing in common with their source material bar the title.
Machete Maidens Unleashed! - An informative and entertaining documentary on low budget films shot in the Philippines. Unfortunately I only saw the short TV cut but it certainly has me interested in catching the full version. The only real drawback in the film is how must time is spent on Apocalypse Now and not on many of the more interesting low budget action films shot there in the late 80s featuring actors such as Richard Harris.
Tokyo Gore Police - A truly bizarre and bloody film. The story is completely ridiculous and exists solely to string together a series of excessively gory moments. Some cheap looking effects and plain odd moments make it never less than watchable.0