Saturday, March 31, 2012

Interview With The Vampire

Once again we are back to where we first began: the vampire film. Now one of my first reviews was Queen Of The Damned which was luck of the draw but now here is where that saga began with Interview With The Vampire. This was the first novel in Rice's Vampire Chronicles written in 1973 but published in 1976 and I read the book long after I saw the film which I believe was on FOX as a world television premiere...remember those? Anyway back on track...Anne Rice is probably the reason why I love vampires and without her vampires such as Lestat and Louis I would probably have no attraction to vampire films. There are differences between the book and the film but literary and celluloid combining always leave things out but we will get to that. First, as always...

What's The Plot?

In modern-era San Francisco, a young reporter (Christian Slater) sits down with a man who claims to be a vampire and wishes to share his story. Intrigued, the young man listens and begins to record the story of Louis de Pointe du Lac (Brad Pitt) who wanted to die due to the loss of a family member. In New Orleans he meets with the answers to his prayers, the angelic yet devilish vampire Lestat de Lioncourt. Lestat wishes for a companion and turns Louis into a vampire but his teachings of how vampires live does not sit well with Louis...he is still too human and does not wish to feed from humans with such a lack of compassion as Lestat does.

When the two vampires are soon chased away from Louis' former slaves at his plantation, they locate to the city where Lestat takes human victims while Louis feeds from rats. One night wondering through a plague-ridden district of the city, Louis feeds from a young girl crying beside her deceased mother but runs in horror at what he did. When he returns to Lestat, he finds that he did not kill the girl but Louis watches in horror as Lestat turns the young girl into a vampire that he names Claudia and calls her both his and Louis' "daughter". Knowing that Lestat did this to keep him from running away, Louis soon relents and begins to dote on Claudia and for years, the trio become an almost well adjusted family.

Soon Claudia (Kirsten Dunst) learns that she will never gain a woman's body due to her immortality and her adult mind begins to hate Lestat for what he has done to her and to Louis by keeping both under his thumb. Being the sadistic killer thanks to her inner maturity, Claudia kills Lestat to Louis' horror but they both dispose of his body in the swamp. Lestat manages to survive this ordeal and comes after both Claudia and Louis but they escape and flee to 1870's Paris. Now in Paris thinking they are the last of their kind, Louis soon discovers a coven of vampires and their charismatic leader, the vampire Armand (Antonio Banderas). These vampires pretend to be human and kill their victims by performing in a theater as pretend vampires in very realistic "stage shows" and it is clear that Armand desires Louis' as a companion as Lestat once did. After one such performance another vampire, Santiago, makes it known to Claudia and Louis that one rule amongst vampires is clear: never kill your own kind.

With this knowledge discovered...are Claudia and Louis in danger for their murder of Lestat? Will Armand be able to tear Louis away from Claudia and have him as his own companion?

What Else Is There To Know?

Even if you have seen the film and know what happens, there is a chance someone has not seen this film or even read the book and a few details differ in the plot after what I have just discussed. I never feel good handing out spoilers because it is like giving  you a hamburger when you deserve Beef Wellington: I hate to upset your palette too much.

Now when the movie came out, Anne Rice wasn't happy with Tom Cruise being cast as Lestat but she rescinded after viewing the movie herself. Now, Tom Cruise has his quirks but he turns out a good performance if you can bypass the fact that he hams up the role on occasion but after reading the book...that's just Lestat's personality. Brad Pitt as Louis was said to be an awful experience by the actor himself but this is the role that made me love Brad Pitt! Seeing as I fell in love with Angel from Buffy The Vampire Slayer, the vampire with a soul, Louis is my favorite character in the film and in the novel because of his tortured appeal and apparently since both Lestat and Armand want him he is easy to become infatuated with.

 Kirsten Dunst as Claudia is another one of my favorite things about the film because she performs the role so well...and at such a young age. Even though Claudia is younger in the novel, Dunst's maturity allows her to do more in the film without feeling kind of squicked out that a little girl is doing these terrible things but you have to remember that in mind, Claudia is an adult and her actions are deliberate. I also have envied Kirsten Dunst for many years because she got to kiss Brad Pitt on those brooding lips of his but after he hooked up with Angelina Jolie I can finally forgive her...

Antonio Banderas as Armand is sexy as hell but differs from the Armand of the book look wise but his acting is superb. We don't get to see Christian Slater as reporter Daniel Molloy very much but his subtle acting differs from his usual "bad boy" roles and it is amazing. Christian was offered the role after the original choice, his friend River Phoenix, died and he donated his pay to two of Phoenix's favorite charities...this makes me kind of love Christian Slater right now.

Now given a choice between film and novel, the movie wins but the book is something I recommend you read if reading is a hobby of yours. Anne Rice brings much life to her characters and her writing style is just as enticing as watching them come to life on the big screen or even your own TV screen. If you decide to check Interview With The Vampire out of the library, get the whole slew of The Vampire Chronicles while you are at it and be amazed at Anne Rice. If the movie is more your type, take the time to give it a view.

Next Blog: You guessed it...another vampire flick!! We go back to the 80s and view another vampire classic that you are sure to sink your teeth in to...The Lost Boys

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Omen: 1976 vs. 2006

Now before when I talked about Carrie from the same year with its own 2002 remake I didn't emphasize it as much even though it was the same thing I am about to do with The Omen. Now mind you this won't be a really heavy handed comparison as both versions of The Omen have a great many similarities except for casting and a few tweaks here and there. Comparing theatrical films to television films is a lot different because its an apple vs. an orange here its like comparing an apple to another apple except one is red and the other is green...see what I mean?

Getting that out of the way...we can focus now on The Omen. Most horror movies like going back to the age old battle of good vs. evil or more importantly God vs. The Devil. Again I am not an overly religious person but I am by no means an atheist or even a Satanist so watching a film like The Omen or The Exorcist does not offend me or make me question my beliefs. That said I can say I have loved The Omen since I first saw it for it tells a story without a lot of gross out like The Exorcist did and the reasons will be clear but first in case you have never seen The Omen...

What's The Plot?
In Rome, U.S. diplomat Robert Thorne rushes to the side of his wife Katherine after learning their newborn son has died just after being delivered. Kathy, as her husband affectionately calls her, does not know yet and a priest named Father Spiletto offers just the solution. Another woman has just died in childbirth leaving a healthy son behind and this child could replace their own lost child to keep Kathy from the pain of losing the baby. Robert agrees and the couple raise the boy they name Damien as their own son while Robert becomes the Ambassador to Great Britain shortly before his son's fifth birthday.

1976 The Omen trailer (SPOILERS!)

On the day of Damien's birthday, an elaborate celebration is marred by tragedy when his nanny hangs herself in view of all the guests. It does not seem to be a suicide as minutes before a strange black dog seems to have swayed the nanny into the act...a dog that only Damien notices with a little kid's wave. The press are all over the suicide and a priest named Father Brennan comes to Robert's office with terrible warnings and crazy claims that he saw Damien's real mother. Robert dismisses the man and as Father Brennan leaves, a photographer named  Jennings snaps a picture. Jennings, who was also at Damien's birthday party, develops his film and finds mysterious flaws in his photos that seem like...omens of bad tidings.

Robert and Katharine soon get a new nanny for Damien named Mrs.Baylock. From the beginning, she makes it known to Damien that she is there to protect him and soon she becomes a driving force between the boy and his parents. She brings in the same mysterious dog spotted earlier by Damien as a watch dog to Robert's great annoyance and questions Katherine as to whether her five year old son should go to an Episcopalian church or even understand the ceremonies. This one point comes into play for as soon as the Thorne family approaches the church, Damien becomes terrified and hysterical to the point where he attacks Katherine violently.

The attack and a visit to the zoo where Damien's very presence agitates the animals into acts of almost aggression starts to get to Katherine. Robert worried about her health sends her to a psychiatrist and finds out Father Brenna is not ready to leave him alone. He meets with the priest who tells him that Damien is the Antichrist...the son of the Devil and that he must be killed. Robert declares him insane and goes to leave but not before Father Brennan telling him about a town called Megido and the monk Bugenhagen  who knows the only way the child can be killed. Shortly after Robert leaves, an ominous storm arises and trying to seek shelter in a church...Father Brenna is struck by lightning and then impaled to death by a falling piece of iron from the roof. The news of Father Brennan's death is the least of Robert's concern because Kathy is becoming afraid of Damien and afraid of having another child like him-she's pregnant and wants an abortion.

2006 The Omen Trailer

When Katherine falls from the second story landing after deliberately being knocked over the railing by Damien, she loses the baby and ends up in the hospital. Robert begins to believe Father Brennan may have been right when Katherine begs for him not to let Damien kill her. Robert is soon contacted by Jennings so he can show Thorne the pictures he had taken of Brennan and Damien's last nanny-the mysterious marks indicate how they would die. Jennings decides to help Robert when it is revealed that he shot a photo of himself and a mark indicates that the photographer will meet the same end. The two men decide to head to Rome to get answers and Robert's final decision is made when he receives news that his wife is dead-Damien must die too.

Will Robert and Jennings be able to stop this demonic child or will hell come to Earth? Can Robert actually kill a child he raised as his own and if he can...will his own soul be damned?

Okay first we talk about what I enjoy from the original 1976 film:

2) Jerry Goldsmith's score is operatic and the Latin chanting is enough to send kills up your spine!

3) The acting is five star!! Gregory Peck is a talented, debonair actor who treats his role as Robert Thorne with the respect it deserves. His chemistry with equally talented Lee Remick is believable and sincere that I can connect with Katherine and Robert Thorne in all they go through. Billie Whitelaw plays Mrs. Baylock and boy does she scare the crap out of me when it calls for her character to do so!! When not being creepy, she seems like such a nice lady and that makes Billie Whitelaw a superb actress as she is also theater trained and a very sometimes overlooked and unappreciated actress.

The only real problem I have with this version is that the boy who plays Damien, Harvey Stephens. He is just too cute to be such an evil child but I guess you would want him to look misleading right? Even so he also doesn't act evil he just seems to act like any normal child behaving precociously and getting into mischief.

The 2006 remake makes only a few tweaks to the original story plot so mainly there are three points I can discuss:

1) Music: I miss Jerry Goldsmith's score because it effectively is chilling. Marco Beltrami's score is not as intense but it is still okay since he scores a lot of horror/suspense/thriller films.

2) Atmosphere: There is a lot creepy imagery trying to overcompensate in scaring you along with jarring cues. The original was less slick and not constantly ominous. Basically, the same as any horror film of this age-it lacks tact and subtlety.

3) Acting: I love Julia Stiles and having a slightly younger Katherine makes her very identifiable but there is something that kind of throws me off Julia. She emotes well in her facial expressions but she is a drama actress so that is kinda of her thing but she lacks Lee Remick's subtlety. Liev Schreiber is attractive its true and he has a nice speaking voice but I always seem to find Liev's performances as wooden-a handsome man just carved out of very pretty wood. Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick looks more like the son of the Devil compared to Harvey Stephens' portrayal but now it seems like they tried too hard to make him look creepy and when children creep you out...I find it disturbing. Since The Omen, he has not been seen in anything else because I believe they have now type-casted that poor boy.

The weirdest choice in casting though has to be...Mia Farrow as Mrs. Baylock? Now I love and adore Mia Farrow for all her philanthropic work in Africa and with children and her acting is phenomenal but...WTF ? I guess it is a reverse of the 1976 version where the nanny was creepy and the child looked innocent or maybe it's because she was in Rosemary's Baby where she played the mother of the Antichrist and now she kind of is playing "mommy" again...I really don't know. She doesn't do a bad job but really I don't want to picture Mia Farrow being creepy and luckily... I don't because the woman is such an angel.

So if I had to choose or give you advice to which one I like better: 1976 version of The Omen wins hands down!! The remake is okay but the gimmick of slick, horrific imagery and the weird casting choices  is enough evidence presented to make the original reign supreme. If you have not seen either version...check out the 1976 film first and then watch the remake and decide for yourself. If you have seen the remake and not the so now or when you get the time. If you have seen the original Omen and are curious about the already seen it.

Quit while you are ahead, my friend.

Next Blog: We step back into familiar territory...vampire films!! If you like vampires I hope you will enjoy my very special interview...with a vampire! Yes from page to screen...Interview With The Vampire.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Even if you know me or don't know probably do not know that 10% of my personality is sadistic. Oh come on everybody has a dark side and everyone is curious every once in awhile which is how I came to enjoy horror films and novels. I think it is because of this fascination with horror that I have a perspective different from others I know because only 10% of me takes horror to its true dark place and enjoys it without letting it overly influence me. It's all about pleasure and pain...which is basically what Hellraiser is all about.

So What Is The Plot?
In some foreign country, Frank Cotton is about to discover that the intricate Chinese puzzle box he has purchased is about to lead him to a world he didn't expect. Frank is a hedonistic bad boy who has exhausted every carnal pleasure known to man but solving the puzzle box is said to bring him to a new world filled with even more until hooked chains emerge and rip into his flesh. He's stumbled on another world ruled by the Cenobites, beings who bring about pleasure through pain by extreme, sadomasochistic torture. Frank's now dissected body is taken by the Cenobites from the attic of his London home and that is all we see...of Frank for now...

Months later, Frank's brother Larry and his sister-in-law Julia decide to live in Frank's home as he has apparently either gone to jail or is in another country. Being in the house reminds Julia of the affair she and Frank shared before her marriage to Larry...something that is not lost on Larry's daughter from his first marriage, Kirsty.

 Kirsty Cotton lives in her own apartment because she does not wish to live with her stepmother Julia but she is there to help them move in the home which goes smoothly until Larry cuts his hand while moving a mattress upstairs. The blood seeps into the floor...and a skinless human form seems to regenerate from it.

Later that night Julia finds Frank in the attic, Larry's blood has brought him back from the Cenobites' dimension but not completely whole. Frank needs blood and organs of the living to fully regenerate himself and he must do so before the Cenobites discover that he has escaped. Frank tells Julia she most go and get him bodies to become whole once more and in order to rekindle their torrid affair, Julia agrees to kill for him. It seems as if the malevolent couple might just get away with it but Kirsty spots Julia with a man and believing that Julia is cheating on her father once again goes to get answers. Instead our teenage heroine stumbles on the man almost dead and that Frank is this inhuman thing of organs, tissues and muscle. She wrangles the puzzle box from him and runs off but the shock catches up to her and she passes out.

Waking in the hospital clutching the puzzle box, Kirsty soon solves it and summons the Cenobites into our world and they are ready to take her back with them. Kirsty lets the lead Cenobite know that Frank has escaped them and she barters a trade: giving Frank back to them in order to spare herself. A deal is struck but will the Cenobites obey their bargain with Kirsty? Will Frank and Julia get away with their wicked deeds or can making a deal with something worse than the devil be able to stop them?

Clive Barker has a very interesting taste when it comes to horror that it is almost an acquired taste like how some people like wine or beer but not both. As a master of horror, Barker is a craftsman who strives to make sure his vision is seen and he brings his novel, The Hellbound Heart, to life as Hellraiser.

Now the themes of the movie are not what make me enjoy Hellraiser. When it comes to horror, I am more of a gore hound and there is plenty of gore to go around! Also, acting is another plus in this movie because all of the characters are brought to screen life by their actors. Sean Chapman is great as bad boy, deliciously hedonistic Frank and Claire Higgins is a wicked Julia with her 80s eyeshadow and predatory shoulder pads. I love Ashley Laurence as Kirsty Cotton, she is the ultimate 80s horror heroine in my book! Ashley is beautiful and kick ass as she spends most of her time just running around in a long, white cotton night shirt which one year I will wear as my Halloween costume with my hair all permed and teased out!

Of course, you have to mention that lead Cenobite known to us as horror icon Pinhead! Doug Bradley portrayed Pinhead eight times in the Hellraiser movie franchise and according to Clive Barker...women want him to father their children. A lot of people think that evil is sexy and for a lot of people S&M is a turn on so I guess Pinhead could be considered sexy in a way. Pinhead would not have been brought to life with out mutual input from Barker and Bradley in creating him and it is a shame that we may never see Pinhead in his glory onscreen ever again.

So if you have seen Hellraiser, I have praised its awesomeness enough and if you have not seen Hellraiser I can guarantee that it will not bring you any pain but plenty of horror pleasure.

Hellraiser Trailer

 Next Blog: because it is my take on...The Omen

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Jerry Maguire

I've talked about mostly horror/thriller films that I have in my collection but it is not the only genre that I like: romantic comedy-drama films are favorites of mine as well. Being a woman you may think I don't like action films or sports themed films but if they can attract my attention with let's just say good characters and maybe a sub-plot of human emotion I can easily be persuaded...

Thank you so much, Cameron Crowe, for Jerry Maguire!

What's The Plot?
Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) is a sports agent with a hot fiancee who after a night of bad pizza and his conscience guilty with how he handles his job decides to write a mission statement about how he and his fellow agents should be more honest in dealing with their clients. However, Jerry later regrets his actions but his fellow employees, including single mother Dorothy Boyd (Renee Zellweger) are touched by the statement. Too bad the management decides to fire Jerry and his former protege Bob Sugar (Jay Mohr) snags almost all of his clients except for Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and university superstar, number one NFL draft pick, Frank "Cush" Cushman (Jerry O'Connell).

When Jerry asks anyone if they would be willing to leave with him and start their own agency together, Dorothy is the only one who goes with Jerry. Things seem to be okay until the night of the NFL draft when Bob Sugar resigns Cush back to Sports Management International under Jerry's nose while he is trying to show off Rod to other NFL teams in the hopes of getting him a better contract. The night is capped off by Jerry's fiancee Avery Bishop (Kelly Preston) rebuking him support, Jerry dumping her and Avery socking him in the face. The emotionally distant Jerry turns to Dorothy for support and ends bonding well with her five-year old son Ray (Jonathan Lipnicki) which starts to make Dorothy fall even more in love with Jerry to her sister Laurel's (Bonnie Hunt) dismay.

Rod is becoming to be a very difficult client for Jerry to handle but on a personal level, Rod seems to be dispensing all the things Jerry mentioned in his mission statement without even knowing it. When it seems financial straits might have Dorothy and Ray moving out of Laurel's house and to San Diego where a secure position awaits, Jerry asks Dorothy to marry him. She agrees but soon after, even though Jerry adores Ray and is a good father to her son, Dorothy is ready to end the marriage. His marriage in danger and the biggest game of Rod's career ahead...can Jerry Maguire become the man he wants to be...or the man he needs to be?

I always hate telling a predominant amount of a film's plot but when movies are as good as Jerry Maguire and someone has not seen it, I like them to know a little bit of what is in store. Most people know quotes from Jerry Maguire like their own telephone numbers and that Cuba Gooding Jr. won an Oscar for his portrayal of Rod Tidwell but they don't know that the chemistry between Tom Cruise and Renee Zellweger is phenomenal! Both Tom and Renee are very good at acting romantic, distant and friendly toward each other for whatever emotion the scene calls for and when Tom Cruise interacts with Jonathan Lipnicki as heart just melts! The acting is amazing in this movie that if I had to talk about everyone we might be here for days!

It took five years after it came out in theaters for me to see Jerry Maguire because I thought I wouldn't be interested in the sports angle but I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it. For those who have seen it and liked it, good for you and for those who didn't like it...I'm sorry. For the few people who have not seen it ... give it a shot and see what happens. Last but not least I have to give proper respect to director Cameron Crowe.

I have three favorite directors and Cameron Crowe is the only who is not a horror director and I enjoy watching his films. They are always based somewhat loosely on real people and moments in Crowe's own life which makes the characters more human and easy to relate to and the music soundtrack and score is always diverse in genres but does not distract from the movie. Truthfully, I got into Cameron Crowe because he use to be married to Nancy Wilson, female guitar god of Heart, but I discovered how great a director and screenwriter he was all on my own. I've seen every one of his films and hopefully there will be more to come that I can add to my movie collection!

Next Blog: Yes we go back to the horror genre once again and talk about a film that is sure to be a real...Hellraiser

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ghost Story

I first heard about Ghost Story not as a movie but as a horror novel reviewed by Stephen King in his book Danse Macabre. The novel was written in 1979 by Peter Straub, who co-wrote The Talisman with King, and praised as being one of the greatest horror novels written in the late 20th century. I have yet to find a copy of the novel but I have watched the film and it is one of my favorite horror films that is more of a thriller and less of a gory slasher flick. I saw Ghost Story late one night on AMC's Fear Friday movie blocks and was hooked for many reasons which I will discuss but first...

What's The Plot?
In the small, New England town of Milburn, four elderly gentlemen have formed a society where they tell each other ghost stories. The Chowder Society as it is called has four members: lawyer Sear James, Doctor John Jafferty, business owner Ricky Hawthorne and Mayor Edward Wanderley. These four men love scary stories but their scariest story is something that happened fifty years ago and it is beginning to come back and haunt them in terrifying nightmares and Edward soon is found dead after falling from the town bridge.

Since recently one of his sons, David, has died in the same manner, Edward's death is seen as a suicide of grief but his friends and his other son, Don, know something else has to be at work. Entrance into the Chowder Society requires a ghostly tale and Don has one of his own that involves the torrid affair he had with a beautiful yet mysterious  woman named Alma Mobley. Alma's sometimes coldness toward Don made him push her away and she soon became engaged to his late, twin brother David, who Don now suspects was murdered by Alma.

When Doctor Jafferty has a heart attack, appearing to have died from fright, Sears and Ricky now feel it's time to share their secret with Don. Fifty years ago, the four younger men all met and became smitten with the beautiful Eva Galli who awakened a sexual interest in all of them until one heated night something went wrong and they murdered Eva by accident.

So it appears Alma and Eva are the same person but what is she really? Is she a ghost or something much sinister? Whatever the case maybe, she is back for revenge and only two of her murderers remain alive...but for how much longer? Can Don, Ricky and Sears be rid of Eva before they become part of the most terrifying ghost story of them all...their own?

I don't want to divulge too much of the plot even though it is a little different from the book (Stephen King talked about the novel in Danse Macabre in great length) because the movie should be seen as it is that great a film to watch! This goes back to the things that I enjoy about this film:

1. The musical score is beautiful yet chilling.

2. Dick Smith, who did the make-up for The Exorcist and many other films and TV, did the special make-up for the film involving Eva/Alma's most frightening appearances. If Regan scared you as a demon, that says something about how disturbing you may find Eva/Alma.

3. The list of actors in this film is incredible! Veteran actors Fred Astaire, Melvyn Douglas and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. made their final screen roles in Ghost Story and they will make you appreciate classic films as their acting is top notch (I always knew Fred Astaire could dance but he can act as well...better than some actors of today I might mention!).

Alice Krige is a wonderful actress who I first discovered in Stephen King's Sleepwalkers and she is both beautiful and disturbing as Alma Mobley and Eva Galli. Another cast member of note is Patricia Neal as Ricky's wife (who I adore from Breakfast At Tiffany's) though her role is small, it wouldn't be fair not to mention such a great actress.

When most horror movies of today are blood, sex and gore, Ghost Story is a classic horror film that doesn't need any of that (even though there is a 1981 version of an explicit sex scene, flashes of Alice Krige's breasts and a scene of brief male frontal nudity for you sex hounds out there!). All you need is great storytelling, fabulous actors and some special effects make-up to add to the atmosphere of great music and photography to make Ghost Story a film only seen to believe in its awesomeness.

Ghost Story Trailer

Next Blog: A break from the horror genre to talk about a film by one of my favorite directors. Whether you have seen it or not...Jerry Maguire

Saturday, March 10, 2012

My Bloody Valentine

Horror loves the holidays from what I can tell and what holiday can be better for heart-stopping slasher love than Valentine's Day. The only way for those who hate Valentine's Day to enjoy it would be watching others suffering as much and My Bloody Valentine is perfect. Now there is the 3D remake but I want to talk about the original 1981 version because the gore is not CGI but real old fashioned movie magic that was so heinous most of the original footage was scraped and then edited back in when the remake brought this classic back to DVD as a promotion for the new film.

What's The Plot?
The coal mining town of Valentine Bluffs is having their first Valentine Dance in twenty years after an incident where five miners were trapped in a cave-in because two supervisors were rushing to the annual Valentine Dance and forgot to check methane levels that caused an explosion, killing all men but one: Harry Warden. Left for six weeks in the wreckage, Warden cannibalized his co-workers to survive and went insane, killing the supervisors after being released from a mental hospital. He cut out the hearts and left them at that year's following dance as warning that he would kill anyone who dared to celebrate on February 14th ever again.

Mayor Hanniger and all the young men who work in the mines are excited and ready to put this all behind them but when Police Chief Jake Newby receives a box of Valentine candy replaced with a human heart, it seems Harry Warden is making good on his promise. When the body of the dance organizer, Mabel, is found dead the plans for the dance are cancelled with the cover up of being a reason of respect. A young miner named T.J. who recently moved back suggests having the dance at the mine in an almost feeble attempt to get back with his ex-girlfriend Sarah, who is now dating another miner named Axel.

So the dance is back on and Harry Warden is on the loose! The triangle of Axel, Sarah and T.J may be the least of their worries as this proves to be another Valentine's Day that Valentine Bluffs will never forget!

What Else?
As I said, the kills in this movie are creative and nasty! You won't be able to look at dryers, shower heads and hot dogs the same way ever again after seeing this movie! The acting is great but as a horror fan, its the atmosphere and the kills that hook me to movies and classic ones like My Bloody Valentine are phenomenal because they don't need CGI and digital just some old fashioned movie make-up and creativity. For its time of the early 80s, this movie is a great slasher flick and the ending genuinely gives me chills of both the creepy and satisfied kind.

Now I'm a girly kind of girl and I love getting flowers, chocolates and stuffed animals for Valentine's Day but I'm not ready to have a human heart greeting me in the mailbox anytime soon. If I can't have a romantic V-Day with my boyfriend, I'll curl up watching My Bloody Valentine...the original 1981 version. If you like the 3D remake, you'll love this version better with its simplistic yet strong visuals guaranteed to get your

Next Blog: Ghost Story

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


So yes this is my surprise blog...a movie I know a lot of horror hounds have seen. There are those of you out there I hope who have not viewed this piece of cinematic, low budget genius so that I can talk about it. It was released in 1979 and had three sequels that I have yet to see because I like Phantasm as a film of its own merit that could have been one of those movies that needed no sequel at all (plus I like movies with vague endings and creepy twists.)

What's The Plot?
Jody Pearson (played by Bill Thornbury) and his friend Reggie attend the funeral of their friend Tommy, an apparent suicide. Because their parents died and he has been having nightmares, Jody's little brother Mike has been asked not to attend...but that doesn't stop Mike from watching the funeral from afar. When Mike sees the unusually tall undertaker (played fabulously by Angus Scrimm) lift Tommy's coffin from his own grave back into the hearse on his own he knows something strange is going on at Morningside Cemetery.

When Mike heads back to the cemetery and enters the mausoleum, he finds himself chased by a menacing silver sphere which then attacks the night janitor (in a gruesome, bloody fashion) and then  by the undertaker he dubs "The Tall Man". When Mike accidentally severs the Tall Man's fingers in a door during his escape, he notices that the blood is a thick, yellow substance...he is not human but just what is he? Mike immediately runs to tell Jody and shows him the fingers, which he brought along to prove his crazy story, so now the brothers know that they have to find out just what is going on at Morningside.

They convince Reggie to help them but he is reluctant until they try to show him the fingers which have now turned into a large fly-like creature! When Jody goes back, he is attacked by a hooded, dwarf-like being and they follow him in the hearse until Mike arrives with a shot gun to stop the vehicle by crashing into a tree. Pulling back the hood, the dwarf is revealed to be...Tommy!!

How can Tommy be back from the dead and what happened to him? Who is The Tall Man and just what is he up to? Mike, Jody and Reggie are now ready to find out in a battle between something... beyond this world.

Director Don Coscarelli (I love that name by the way) provides a very creepy and terrifying atmosphere by setting most of the action in a mausoleum (which I usually find them serene and beautiful) and Angus Scrimm is wonderful!! He's supposed to be intimidating and otherworldly and he does his job well in the way he talks and lumbers his very tall frame...even just standing in one spot he is frightening!! Even though Mike is the main character and Jody and Reggie are important too, I enjoy watching Phantasm mainly for Angus Scrimm as The Tall Man to creep me out...and also because the silver spheres are awesome!! 

It's hard to talk about Phantasm without spoiling the whole film and maybe even the series for you if you haven't seen it but if you have, I think I covered it very well. It's one of my favorite horror films and a stand alone check it out. 

Phantasm Trailer 

Speaking of checking out...

Next Blog: A little late but ... My Bloody Valentine

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Fury

Sometimes you discover movies in many different ways and you are surprised when you learn that some movies you watch are based on books. In 1976, author John Farris published a book titled The Fury about two young children with telekinetic/psychic powers wanted by a creepy government agency that two years later was made into a film.

The film is helmed by director Brian DePalma, has music composed by the legendary John Williams and stars Hollywood acclaimed actor Kirk Douglas. Sounds good so far doesn't it? I saw the film on the Fox Movie Channel when I lived with my mother around Halloween and curiously checked it out when I saw it starred Amy Irving, who played Sue Snell in the film version of Carrie (one of my favorite films).

What's The Plot?
Government agent Peter Sandza (Kirk Douglas) and his son Robin are enjoying their time in The Middle East of the late 1970s before Peter plans to retire and take his son back to The States. Robin is not like other teens his age...he has psychic powers and is afraid he won't fit in. Suddenly, terrorists attack the beach and Robin witnesses the death of his father but all is not what it seems. Peter is alive and finds out that his fellow "agent" and friend Ben Childress (John Cassavetes) set up the entire scenario to isolate Robin from him so he can use the young man's powers to train psychics as potential weapons.

A year later in Chicago, Gillian Bellaver (Amy Irving) possesses the same powers as Robin with one draw back that close contact while she is using her powers causes people to bleed ... heavily. She heads to the Paragon Institute as a volunteer in their study of telepathy and befriends Hester, an employee who just so happens to be Peter Sandza's girlfriend/lover and his eyes and ears inside the Institute. Peter is trying to find Robin, who attended the Institute and supposedly died in an incident there, knowing he is alive when Hester tells him that Gillian is seeing visions of Robin and feeling a strong connection with her almost "psychic twin".

Peter may be in for a surprise when he finally finds Robin because all of Childress' experiments on Robin have changed him into an unstable psychopath and his power is growing as "The Fury" is building up inside of him. He can also feel Gillian and the suspense is finally going to come to and end...but who will survive when all is said and done.

Seeing as The Fury and Carrie share so many similarities it's a no-brainer that I adore this movie and why wouldn't I? John William's score is great as always in any film he does and Brian DePalma is a wonderful director with his suspenseful yet sometimes dreamy atmosphere and of course everyone knows that at the end of the film a man is literally torn to pieces by an explosion of psychic power which is one of my favorites in all of cinematic history! Kirk Douglas is a great actor and his portrayal of Peter Sandza is sympathetic and comical and Amy Irving is a rare gem in the acting world that her most famous role as Sue Snell is eclipsed here and makes me appreciate her even more to check out other films she has done. John Cassavetes is as always a great actor and I love him as the antagonist that I hate him as much as I did in Rosemary's Baby with his almost infectiously smarmy charm.

There is never a dull moment in this movie and The Fury as a film is much better compared to its literary counterpart. I picked up a copy of the novel at a flea market for cheap and didn't even make it through the first chapter before the novel headed to my local Goodwill which is bad for someone who has such a love of the written word that rivals her love of film, television and music. If you ever get around to finding The Fury in a book bin, you can give it a shot but you would be better to peruse your video store instead.

Next Blog: For a change of pace, I'm leaving you in the dark about the next film I talk about. Guess you will just have to wait patiently...until next we meet.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


No one likes to hear a lecture but before we begin this blog we need a vocabulary lesson to understand this review better.

Today's word, boys and girls, is Doppelganger

Doppelganger (noun) : A paranormal double of a living person, typically representing evil or misfortune.

Now that we got that out of the way, we can focus now on the movie Doppelganger. In 1993, Drew Barrymore was a brunette to portray Long Island Lolita Amy Fisher and she kept the color when she starred in this psychological-supernatural thriller. This movie was not child star Drew or bubbly funny Drew or even wild girl Drew but serious Poison Ivy Drew at her best...and weirdest.

What's The Plot?
Holly Gooding (Drew Barrymore) moves from New York to Los Angeles after the murder of her mother so she can visit her brother Fred in the hospital. She moves in with struggling writer Patrick Highsmith (George Newbern) who thinks he's got the perfect little hot roommate but living with Holly is anything but perfect. Her moods shift from shy and helpful to bitchy and psycho at the drop of a hat and soon Patrick learns things about Holly he probably didn't want to know.

Holly's father was killed by her brother Fred who is in a mental hospital and Holly is the prime suspect in her mother's very violent murder but she claims that her doppelganger did the crime just as her brother's own doppelganger killed her father...supposedly. Patrick begins to have his doubts about Holly's story but soon not only has he fallen in love with Holly...but he's seen her doppelganger as well. Holly's doctor from New York, Doctor Heller (Dennis Christopher) comes to take Holly home when her brother Fred is almost killed by Holly's "doppelganger" and informs Patrick that Holly is just a young woman with a multiple personality disorder who needs help but Holly is determined to prove that the doppelganger is real and out to kill her.

Is there really an evil within Holly or a ghostly double out to end her life? Can Patrick help her find the truth or will he be the next victim ?

This film is just one of the many in my Drew Barrymore collection (as I am a huge Drew Barrymore fan) and it is not bad but it isn't Oscar caliber either. The special effects and the lighting of the film are garish at best and I can see the movie as just another way to show off that Drew Barrymore is attractive as she has a shower scene to show of her "talent". Being 18 when this movie was filmed, Drew was trying to leave behind the child star image and her role as Holly Gooding came after Poison Ivy and starring as Amy Fisher as a way to break that mold and boy did it!

I don't think any acting flaws in this movie are the actors' fault as the script seems to be at best the writer trying to make Breakfast At Tiffany's into a horror B-film. George Newbern is meant to be the naive, completely clueless character that he is portraying (he's a good actor...he's the voice of Superman for crying out loud!) and Dennis Christopher is a great character actor in everything he does (he's Eddie Kaspbrak from Stephen King's IT for Pete's sake!). To me the adage goes:

There are no bad actors just bad script writing.

The premise of an evil twin is a tricky idea to work with but if the writing and direction are done right then you can have a truly scary, mind-boggling film that has your mind coming to its own conclusions. Parts of the movie work (mostly that I love the actors if not their characters) and others don't but I wouldn't say that Doppelganger is as bad as people say it is. The ending by the way won't clear up any questions you may have so you will just have to see Doppelganger to get your own answers.

Next Blog: The Fury