onsdag 28 juli 2010

Attack of the crab monsters (1957)

Roger Corman is awesome. If you're reading a blog like this, chances are that you are already fully aware of that fact but I just wanted to remind you of the fact. Todays evidence is the wonderful little movie Attack of the Crab monsters, a title that tells you exactly what need while still having a plot that is way more intelligent than you would expect.

What a magnificent specimen.

Agroup of scientists arrive at a small island to find its previous occupants missing. While inhabiting the house the earlier people lived in they realize that something strange is going on. People start to go missing and their disembodied voices are heard in the night. Yes, its crabs. Not that crabs (sorry, I couldnt resist) but giant mutant crabs that assimilate their victims intelligence and speak with their voices to lure the survivors to their doom, all while reducing the island to swiss cheese by digging tunnels.

The movie was made for $70000 and this shows, mainly in the rather limited outdoors locations, but the quality of the script outweighs this by far, especially with the scenes of the crabs trying to lure the next victim out for a midnight snack. The acting is a bit stiff and hysterical, but that is fairly common with movies from this era. Roger Corman directs with a pace that never lets you be bored and the crabs? The movie is from 1957, crabs looked like that back then. All in all, this is a fine piece of monstermovie for all the fans of the genre.

Zombies of mass destruction (2009)

One thing that may anger me greatly is when the female lead in a lowbudget horrormovie doesnt take her clothes off. For a horrormovie to succeed there has to be a large amount of well made gore and copious amounts of nudity, it's as simple as that. A good director, a well written script and some good acting might help too, but in the end it exploding heads and tits that I want. Which makes this movie even harder for me to review of course. Not that it is some kind of exceptional movie, Zombie of mass destruction is really "just" Above average, but the direction is decent, it has an incredibly cute lead actress (the gorgeous Janette Armand) who refuses to show herself in nothing less than her underwear and has a script that actually tries to say something about racism, US politics, religion and homosexuality, even though most of it isnt exactly subtle and very often is disguised with jokes. My main gripe with this is that I kind of feel like an asshole when I bitch about wanting more boobies. I'm not used to watching movies with messages. With that off my chest: Who am I kidding? I want more naked breasts!

Janette Armand plays Frida Abbas, a young Iranian girl living with her father in a small Island town outside the coast of America, having just dropped out of school. At the same time a young man arrives in town with his boyfriend with plans to let his mother know that he is gay. While he tries to get the guts to tell his mom and Frida tries to dodge the typical small town racist thoughts that she might be a terrorist, what do you think happens? Well, if you read the title you realize that there will be a zombie outbreak and our character desperately trie to survive. Yes, we've seen it all before.

And that is what this movie is all about. We have seen it all before. The plot is old and the satire is obvious, however well intended. But with that said, I would still recommend Zombies of mass destruction to all fans of zombiemovies for a couple of reasons. It is a decent horrormovie with a somewhat slow buildup to a rewarding last half and it has huge amount of ripped out throats, exploding heads and other fun stuff with excellent make up effects. The actors seem to have fun with their roles and most of the jokes actually work, however crude they might be from time to time. In short - if you like zombiemovies you will most likely like this.

måndag 26 juli 2010

Atragon (1963)

I will freely admit that Ishirō Honda is one of my favorite directors of all time. I eat and sleep Kaiju overall and Hondas output is truly the finest of them all. Atragon is perhaps not one of Hondas best (I reserve that to Mysterians, Godzilla vs Monster zero and Matango), but it still one heck of a fun movie. This time its Atlantis aka the lost continent of Mu who is behind the grand massdestruction. You see, they want the Earth back (it used to consist of their colonies) and if we dont do what they say, they will kick the living daylights out of us. The only hope is a submarine, Atragon, which some people say that it dont even exist. On the other hand, The Mu-people are fairly sure of its existence and want it destroyed.

From the excellent beginning (the people of Mu kidnapping scientists) to the end where massdestruction sets in, Atragon is Honda delivering the goods. The cast is full of faces you recognize like Kenji Sahara and Akihiko Hirata and the special effects are as wonderful as you expect them to be in this era of japanese filmmaking. My only complaint would be that Manda, kaiju of the month, only is in it for a very short time but we get enough cool destruction anyway. An excellent movie which should be in every fan of Tsuburaya och Hondas collection.

Terror (1978)

If there ever was proof that Norman J Warren was a more than capable moviedirector, Terror is it. The plot is flimsy, simple to the extreme, but the separate horrorscenes and the movies general pace is excellent. This is also the most Giallolike non-italian movie I have ever seen, which really isnt that strange since Warren openly admits that the biggest inspiration for this movie was Dario Argentos Suspiria.
Terror starts with a prologue in ancient times where a witch is caught and burnt at stake, not before uttering a curse upon the family responsible for hunting her down. A couple of hundred years later a moviedirector is having a party in his his house and when one of the guests is hypnotized for fun, she begins to speak in a strange voice that utters they very sam ecurse we heard in the beginning of the movie. Everyone laughs it off as a joke, but it doesnt take long before people in the directors surroundings start dying one by one...

So, what he have here is basically an english verison of the italian Giallo. There is not much plot at all, just long, stylish and well shot sequences of grue, spiced up with a bit of nudity. Exactly the way we want it. Warren is a very competent director, and Terror keeps up the momentum from beginning to the end even though the plot is thinner than my collection of Adam Sandler-movies. There are several really cool sequences such as the one where a filmstudio "comes alive" or the one that ends with a cameo by Peter Mayhew, aka Chewbacca. This is top quality exploitation and if you havent seen it already, do so. Even better, track down the Anchor Bay Norman J Warren box which has this movie, plus a number of his other including Inseminoid and Satans slave, all with numerous cool extras. It might be out of print though so it can be a bit pricey. But it is really worth it.

måndag 19 juli 2010

Blind womans curse aka Tattoed swordswoman(1970)

From the moment I received this dvd I knew that this was something I would like. Starring the great Meiko Kaji and directed by Teruo Ishii with a plot that mixes horror, grue and swordplay, how can you fail? But for some reason it took me several attempts to finish the movie, not because it is bad or boring, but instead the fact that I think I'm just a bit bored with movies lately. I should just watch big budget trash instead, not fine movies like this.

Meiko Kaji plays a young member of the Tachibana clan who is having a rather rough time at the moment. Another clan is secretly plotting their demise and is getting help from a mysterious blind woman and her hunchback henchman. Soon, young girls of the clan are found dead with their back tattoos removed and all of this points back to something Akemi did five years earlier, placing a curse on her.

Yes, this is good stuff.

S1wordplay, blood geysers and Meiko Kaji. You cant really go wrong with that. But as I mentioned earlier, the first half of the movie was really hard to get through which is a shame, since this is prime Teruo Ishii. His wild imagination with the camera and the setdesign really shines from time to time. Fortunately the last half ups the violence and fun stuff to the point that I (momentarily) had to drag myself out of that damn rut. This is something that every fan of Teruo Ishii, Meiko Kaji and japanese genremovies will like. I would even recommend this to the lovers of the more violent and fantastic Shaw Brothers movies of the eighties. Someday I will watch this again when I can appreciate it to the fullest.

Shooter (2007)

Here is another movie that's too big budget an dmainstream too really fit in here, other than the fact that this is really a throwback to 80s action. Mark Wahlberg plays a supersniper who is hired by members of the government to look for a possible attempt to assassinate the Us president, but is really a scapegoat for something entirely different. Now on the run, Wahlberg spends the rest of the movie shooting lots of people in the head while trying to clear his name, which is great entertainment. A fairly lightweight conspiracyactionthriller which is low on shakeycam, this is excellent viewing on a hungover sunday.

söndag 18 juli 2010

Feast 3 - The Happy finish (2009)

A telling sign that a movie might be awful (apart from the fact that the previous movie in the series sucked ass) is that (still wrapped in plastic) it comes with a return form from the previous owner with the reason for return being:

It's a terrible movie so I dont want it.

At least someone did the right thing.

Feast 3 follows directly from the end of part two which was one of the most stupid sequels I have ever seen, following a really good movie. What the hell happened? We follow the survivors of the second movie as they try to make it out of the monsterinfested town, all while bitching and moaning and behaving like general assholes. There is not a single character worth following and they keep repeating stuff like introducing a new character as a possible hero, killing him off 5 mins later. It worked in the first part. Not over and over again.

I mean, I watched the movie just a few days ago and I dont even remember how it ended. Thats how crappy this is. There are nice rubbermonsters, there is a lot of gore and loads of boobies but I never thought I would actually say this: It isnt enough. The movie is just too stupid and immature to be anything else than crap. Even the Scary movie franchise has more integrity than this. Example: The movie starts with a character being decapitated, her head eaten and then shat out in obnoxious closeup. If they had stopped with the first movie, Feast would have been remembered as a fun little flick, a minor cultclassic. Now its just a fun movie with two of the worst sequels ever. This is a movie that should be avoided.

torsdag 15 juli 2010

Rovdyr (2006)

Rovdyr has absolutely nothing new to show off, nothing. The story is a shitload of cliches and storylines that we've seen hundreds of times before. Yet, I liked the movie a lot which proves that if you have talent and know what you are doing, you can turn shit into gold.

Ok, it's not that bad, it's just that if you've seen The Hills have eyes, TCM and a Wrong turn or two, you know exactly what to expect of this. A group of norwegian youngsters are travelling through the dark forests of norway sometime in the seventies and soon end up as hunted prey as a bunch of inbred rednecks pick them off one by one. There are no surprises but the director knows his horror and the atmosphere in the dark forest is excellent. Having grown up in Sweden about 100 kilometers from the norwegian border I feel at home here and the movie is the ultimate proof of what I've always known - that norwegians are inbred hicks!

Jokes aside, this is basically just another one in the outback genre but it is made with a heart which means you can appreciate the clichés for what they are. There is quite a lot of gore and you are never bored, which for me is a good grade. The only thing I didnt like with the movie is that there is no nudity. Shame on you, director! Recommended.

Curse 2 - The bite (1989)

This is a hard one to review. The problem is, Curse 2 - The bite (of course having nothing to do with part 1) is neither a good movie nor a bad movie. It is professionally made with a couple of fun special effects and decent photography but there isnt much drama in it which is too bad for a movie that has a rather cool plot. I mean, havent you always wanted to see a movie where a guy is bitten by a radioactive snake and having his arm turn into a snake? But the only entertainment you will get out of this movie are a few fun kills and watching Jamie Farr of M.A.S.H hamming it up as a doctor chasing our soon to be a mutant snake monster hero. As 80s horror there are worse movies to watch but rather a lot that is better. I just cant think of anything more to write.

söndag 4 juli 2010

The Hunting party (1971)

The Hunting party is a movie that never will win any prices for political correctness. I truly wonder, who was the intended audience for this? I mean, one of the things you learn from this movie is that rape is okay, as long as you give the lady peaches afterwards. Oliver Reed stars as an outlaw in the old west who decides that he wants to learn how to read so his gang kidnap a young schoolteacher (played by Candice Bergen). What they dont know is that she is the wife of psychopath millionaire Gene Hackman who gets pretty upset and decides to hunt down the kidnappers with his scoped, highpowered rifle and make them pay. What he doesnt know is that Candice Bergen (after being raped and given a can of peaches) has fallen in love with Oliver Reeds character and when he finds out, yes there will be hell to pay.

There is not a single truly "good" character in this movie. Oliver Reed, the hero, is s rapist and his gang would like to to the same thing to the woman. Gene Hackman, who I suppose actually has the right to be upset, is a sadist who likes to torture prostitutes while he is away from his wife, and while his posse does protest somewhat to the idea of shooting people who doesnt have the chance to shoot back, they still go along with it. You realize pretty quick that there wont be any happy endings here.

Ok, so who am I kidding?! I love this stuff. The Hunting party is full of graphic violence, gigantic squibs and with all the fun actors around like Reed, Hackman, Simon Oakland and L.Q Jones, there is never a dull moment. So the morals of the story might be a bit... depraved... but who cares? This is grand entertainment!

Species 2 (1998)

I believe that one day there will be a national holiday in awe of Species 2. Not too many year have passed for the movie to become the cult that it desperately needs, but it will come. Rest assured, it will, for spectacles such as this are rarely created. The sequel to 1995:s fun monsterflick Species has everything you need:

Copious sex and nudity as a Martian astronaut brings home a strange infection which makes him try to mate with just about everything. After the act we come to the violencepart as the poor womens bellies are ripped open as an alien child is instantly born. There are tentacles involved too! Natasha Henstridge returns as a "good" alien this time and dont worry, she has nudescenes. The movie is also full of really good actors such as James Cromwell, Michael Madsen (before he started to appear in just about anything), Peter Boyle and a couple of other familiar faces. The dialogue these people are forced to mouth is among the most preposterous yet and you actually feel sorry for them. Peter Medak, a true professional, does what he can with what appears to be a fairly limited budget and the script from hell (by a guy whose previous experience includes writing Beverly hills 90210.) and the movie still looks good, with a bunch of fairly good digital gore (for the timeperiod) and a final creature that looks like H.R Giger designed a muppet.

You cannot hate a movie like this, in ten years this will appear on doublebills with Bruno Matteimovies and the audience will love every single moment of it. I long for that day.

The Grudge 3 (2009)

Ok, call it quits now. You have officially killed the franchise now. I liked the original Ju-on movies, even the lowbudget tv-movies back in the days when asian horror wasnt just all pale women with long dark hair. The first two american remakes were ok, mostly for the fact that they were directed by the very same creator of the original japanese movies. But Grudge 3... this is the kind of sequel that exemplifies the reason why sequels are hated, the kind of sequel that would make any Children of the corn part shun it. Yes, the curse has travelled to the US now (well, Bulgaria or some other easteuropean country) and has infested the house in The Grudge part two. Oh, nasty. Especially since there are about four tenants in the house and it takes 90 minutes to kill all of the them. The scares are strangely unscary and telegraphed way ahead - my girlfriend, who normally gets really scared watching movies like these, was strangely indifferent. Yes, she jumped at the right moments and looked away when something "spooooky" was happening, but usually she gets mad at me for forcing her to watch movies like these. When The Grudge 3 was over, it was like nothing had happened.

No, keep away. Dont watch it. Ok, the director of the fun parasiteflick Splinter got paid doing it, but that is about the only positive thing I can think of. Not even he can do something with this script. Most likely the most boring and unspiring sequel ever.

S.N.U.B (2010)

I hadnt heard of this movie before I surfed onto play.com:s webpage and found it under horror. Reading the story, I realized I had to have this movie and bought it without reading any reviews or watching the trailer. I like to take a chance like that from time to time. I cant really say I was that dissapointed, S.N.U.B isnt a bad movie. The only problem is, the back of the dvd reveals waaaay too much of the movies plot and lulls you into thinking this is some sort of cool zombiemovie, when it really isnt.

A weasly lower politician somehow founds out that a terrorist threat is about to happen, a nuclear bomb has been found in central London and he manages to bully his way into a S.N.U.B (a Secret Nuclear Underground Bunker). The unimaginable happens, the bomb goes off and reduces London to a radioactive wasteland leaving the survivors to fend for themselves. But when a couple of soldiers go out to try to repair a radiomast, they are killed by something unknown and... well, here is the problem with the synopsis on the dvd, it tells way more than that, event that doesnt occur until about 50 minutes into the movie which is pretty lethal for a flick that is only 77 mins including the end titles. Yes, there is a little grue and some nasty creatures towards the end but this movie is more about the buildup to that event and the paranoia and fears that the survivors have. In a way, this feels like it would fit in on BBC a friday night on a scifi/horrorspecial, like those classic tv-movies and serials that Nigel Kneale wrote ages ago. Not that this is any way near as good as that. S.N.U.B actually manages to drag a bit which is a mean feat sincve the movies is so short. The characters are fairly clichéd and underwritten(though decently acted in that british tv kind of way) and the script should have been looked over a bit (one of the characters mysteriously vanishes two thirds into the movie never to appear again. Either victims of poor scriptwriting or poor editing?). On the other hand, the movies makes good use of its locations and the special effects of the nuclear explosion and its aftermath are surprisingly effective, considering what was obviouslt a very low budget. Perfectly watchable as a lowbudget scifithriller, just dont read all the way down on the dvdcover and expect the gorefest its trying to trick us into believing that it is.

The Children (2008)

Admit it, you want to see kids killed on film. One of those taboos that never seem to go away, The Children tries to make amends for that by killing of its evil kids in fairly violent ways, even though they they actually chicken out in the end, not showing any gory details. At least the filmmakers compensate with gory kills, including a short but sweet knife in the eye gag.

Yes, the children are turning evil. Why, we never find out other than that the script allude to some sort of unknown disease. We follow a couple of families going out to a countryhouse during the winter, with the movie starting out like one of those dreadful dramas with the couple bickering about their relationships. But soon the kids start puking yellow and setting up traps for their parents, like a sledride into a pair of hooks, the eyeviolence earlier mentioned and some other juicy bits. Of course, the parents never really believe that their toddlers are capable of such deeds, making it easier for the nasty little critters to claim their kills.

I liked The Children a lot, for several reasons. Firstly, the acting is great, both the adults and especially the kids who goes from weeping to killing in seconds. The script is low on details, but uses the cute little children in good, sick setpieces and although the ending isnt exactly satisfying, the rest of the movie makes up for that. The violence isnt really that graphic, but the deaths are of the kind that hurt and makes you cringe from time to time. I recommend The Children to anyone that likes a decent horrormovie or anyone that likes to watch fouryearolds stuff toys into open, steaming gutwounds or the very same fouryearold get impaled on a wooden splinter. Time to watch Who would kill a child?

Hong kong godfather (1985)

Shaw Brothers rules. I'm a big fan of their horrormovies of the seventies and eighties, and I dont mind any of their supremely violent Sword n' Sorcery pieces like Portraits in Crystal or Bloody Parrot. Here is another great flick, this time set in Hong kong in the eighties. The plot is as thin as that mint wafer from Monty Pythons The Meaning of life, about a group of gangsters getting revenge upon a former friend who betrayed them and killed their boss but this isnt about story. This is about the most insanely violent fightscenes I have ever seen!

The movie starts out slow, with some violent fights but nothing you havent seen before. But then it adds another gear, and another, and another and the last 30 minutes is just one long bloody fightscene where our heroes kill with knives, guns and fists and you just sit there, staring at the insane carnage with disbelief going through your brain. Did you actually see all that? If you like old Shaw Brothers or just kung fu movies in general, this is a must see. At least fastforward to that last fightscene in the supermarket, it will blow your mind! Or watch the scene where a thuig takes a little kid and break his back on his knee...