Tag Archives: horror

Looking Back: PIECES

PIECES(1982)

Directed by Juan Piquer Simon

Starring Lynda Day George, Ian Sera, Christoper George, Frank Brana, and Jack Taylor

I just finished watching Pieces, and I have to say that this slasher exceeds expectations. The story is a very solid whodunit, and the kills were disturbing, but great.

Here’s a quick synopsis: A young boy named Timmy is putting together a puzzle of a naked woman. His mother sees this and demands that he gets a bag to throw the puzzle away. However, he returns with an ax and dismembers her. Forty years later, the viewer is taken to a college campus where some bizarre deaths occur.

I liked how the story keeps you guessing as to what Timmy’s role is at the campus. I will not reveal it because you’ll definitely have to watch this film to find out. You will be surprised. The kills are graphic, but with a purpose.

In addition to the surprisingly good story and the bizarre kills, the ending is very memorable. It is shocking along the lines of Friday the 13th and SleepAway Camp.

What else can I say about Pieces? All I will tell you is that If you want a great 80s slasher, this one comes highly recommended. My score: 8.5/10 (Add to your horror library)

Looking Back: The Fly(1986)

WARNING!! (For those who have not seen this film) This review may contain some spoilers!

The Fly(1986)      Directed by David Cronenberg

Starring Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, and John Getz

I’m working on something that will change the world as we know it,” announces Seth to Veronica, the journalist who is looking for a good story. This sentence, in my opinion,  provides the set-up to this movie’s basic premise: A scientist who develops a major breakthrough with the idea to change the world, but a mistake creates some unfortunate results.

The Fly centers on Seth, a scientist who creates a device that teleports objects from one pod to another. Soon after he succeeds with a living organism, he decides to perform the act on himself. However, a fly goes into the pod without his knowledge, resulting in a genetic fusion of man and insect.

This film is a very engaging hybrid of horror, sci-fi, and romance. Jeff Goldblum’s(Seth) and Geena Davis’s(Veronica) romantic chemistry was impressive. I felt that their attraction developed a little quickly, but overall their relationship was organic and believable. The story kept me engaged, and the practical effects still holds up to this day. Those effects definitely made you believe that Seth was plausibly turning into a fly.

If you’re looking for a great Body-Horror movie that blends sci-fi and romance quite effectively, The Fly comes highly recommended. My score: 8.5/10(Add to your horror collection).

Hidden Horror Gems: SleepAway Camp

SleepAway Camp(1983)

Directed and Written by Robert Hiltzik

Starring Felissa Rose, Jonathan Tierston, Paul DeAngelo, and Karen Fields

When it comes to hidden horror gems, Sleepaway Camp definitely fits that definition. Honestly, I’ve never heard of this film until recently, but I am glad that I discovered it. I was so impressed with this movie, that I had to purchase a copy.

Released in 1983, this film centers on Angela, a shy girl whose family is killed in a boating accident. As a result, she goes to live with her eccentric Aunt Martha and her cousin Ricky. Years later, Aunt Martha sends the two children to camp, where some mysterious and bizarre deaths occur.

Sleepaway Camp is both impressive and provocative. It is a well-paced, solid whodunit. The idea of using actual children gives you an authentic “life at a camp” feeling, and their overall performances were very engaging and memorable. Even though the kills were not too graphic, the practical effects were solid. And the ending..well, there is a reason Sleepaway Camp has one of the greatest plot twists ever in horror. You’ll just have to watch the film to experience it.

Not to sound like a commercial, but your collection will not be complete until you pick up a copy of this movie. Make sure you get the Shout Factory! Edition to watch the extras and gain more insight into this unique slasher. My score: 9/10(Add to your library)

Another Look: A Nightmare on Elm St. 2: Freddy’s Revenge

A Nightmare on Elm St. 2:  Freddy’s Revenge(1985)

Directed by Jack Sholder

Starring Robert Englund,  Mark Patton, Kim Meyers, and Robert Rusler.

I haven’t seen a Nightmare on Elm St. 2: Freddy’s Revenge in awhile, so I decided to watch it again, and perhaps gain another perspective. Yes, I am aware of the controversy that surrounds this sequel, but when I first saw it I was very young, and honestly, I didn’t see the subtext. There are other videos and reviews that cover that subtext if you want to look more into it. Controversies aside, I will say that this entry is an intriguing take on the Nightmare canon, and it deserves another look.

This sequel takes place 5 years after the first one. It focuses on Jesse, a teenager that has moved into Nancy’s old house on Elm St. As to be expected, Freddy Krueger invades his dreams. His goal is not to kill Jesse, but to use him as a conduit to enter into the real world. The movie starts off very strong with the scene of Freddy driving the school bus, tormenting Jesse and the other characters riding it. I will not give the entire movie away, but there are quite a few scenes that gives Freddy’s Revenge more of a psychological-slasher vibe.

There aren’t many graphic kills, but the effects work is impressive. The story is well written with stellar performances by Mark Patton(Jesse) and Kim Meyers(Lisa). The dynamic between those two is so engaging, that I wish that they were further explored in some of the sequels.

This entry in the franchise..you have to admire the risk the filmmakers took when they allowed Freddy into the real world, basically giving a different angle to the Nightmare lore. Also, Freddy is more menacing and scarier, not having the comedic tone we see in the future sequels.

A Nightmare on Elm St. 2: Freddy’s Revenge may be considered underrated to some, but I will suggest that you take a different look at this one because of the risks, giving you another angle on Nightmare’s world. This film, in my opinion, is one of the definitions of an authentic horror movie. If you haven’t seen this one, I’d suggest you watch it and add it to your collection. My score: 9/10-(Collection-Worthy)

Looking Back at Remakes: Maniac

Maniac(2012)

Directed by Franck Khalfoun

Starring Elijah Wood, America Olivo,  and Nora Arnezeder

Sometimes, remakes do not live up to the original. Other times, remakes are impressive to the point that they are their own films. Maniac(2012) belongs to that latter camp.

This more hi-gloss update of the 1980 slasher flick centers on Frank Zito, a man who has an insatiable lust for killing and scalping women. He soon meets Anna, an artist who asks for his help with her exhibit. Maniac asks if she will finally be the one who stops his lust, and perhaps give him a sense of the love he has always wanted.

One compelling aspect of Maniac is that it is shot in full POV, allowing us to see the movie through Frank’s eyes. I admired that because this makes the movie unique, not being a carbon copy of the original.

This film is more glossy and a little more artsy than the original. The performances and the overall mood gives you an eerie feeling, but I admit that you don’t get a real sense of intense fear until the third act. The kills are interesting, and if you are into blood and gore, this slasher is for you.

If you liked the original Maniac, you owe it to yourself to give this one a watch.  However, if you haven’t seen the original, that is fine.  I think you will still find this intriguing and enjoyable.  My score: 8/10(Add to your collection).

Looking Back: Sorority Row

Sorority Row(2009)

Directed by Stewart Hendler

Starring Brianna Evigan, Leah Pipes, Rumer Willis, Jamie Chung, Audrina Page, Julian Morris, Margo Harshman, Matt Lanter, and Carrie Fisher

I just watched Sorority Row the other night again, and I have to say that this slasher is enjoyable. How else can I describe this movie? It has a great cast, the engaging story has a nice whodunit element, and the kills are very creative. If you haven’t seen this House on Sorority Row remake, I’d highly recommend checking this one out and adding it to your collection. My score: 8.5/10(Add to your collection)

Taking a Second Look: The Howling

 

The Howling(1981)

Directed by Joe Dante

Starring Dee Wallace, Patrick Macnee, Christopher Stone, Dennis Dugan, Belinda Balaski, and Robert Picardo

It’s been awhile since I’ve seen The Howling, so I decided to watch it again to see if my opinions have changed. However, after giving it a second look, I have to say that I surprisingly still enjoyed it.

This movie is a well-written werewolf horror story. Not only is the story engaging, it is an interesting commentary on the dynamics of civilized behavior vs animal behavior. Which behavior is more natural? How do you balance the two? Should you repress one type, and if you do, which one should you repress? The Howling, in my opinion, brings these types of questions to mind.

Not only do you get the thought-provoking questions, you also get some good scares and some decent practical effects.

So if you haven’t watched a werewolf movie in awhile, The Howling comes highly recommended. My score: 8.5/10(purchase worthy)

Underrated Gem to Watch: Rabid (2019)

Rabid (2019)

Directed by Jen and Sylvia Soska

Starring Laura Vandervoort, Hanneke Talbot, Ben Hollingsworth, and Ted Atherton

I just saw the remake of Rabid(2019), and this movie left a lasting impression on me. This is a very well-written “zombie-like outbreak” movie!

Not to give away any spoilers, but the basic premise involves a woman who is badly scarred from an accident. Unable to pay for the surgery, she goes to a clinic to be a subject of a regenerative therapy experiment. Unfortunately, the experiment produces some unexpected results.

Rabid has some great acting, good tension, an engaging story, and some good practical effects. There is a part of me that wished that it had more graphic kills, but overall, this film definitely held my attention. And let’s not forget Rabid’s surprise-twist ending..it makes you wonder if there would be a sequel.

Overall, this comes highly recommended if you’re a fan of zombie-like horror films. Add this one to your collection.   My score: 8/10 (purchase-worthy)

Taking a Second Look: The Cell(2000)

The Cell(2000)

Directed by Tarsem Singh

Starring Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn, and Vincent D’Onofrio

I’ve seen The Cell for the first time in about 20 years and I am still quite impressed with it. What makes this movie interesting is how it explores the subconscious of the human mind.

The Cell is about a social worker named Kathryn who, via technology, goes into the imaginations of her patients to help them with their inner turmoil. The FBI, aware of her expertise, asks her to go into the mind of a comatose serial killer named Carl in order to find his latest victim.

I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but what made this film impressive was the story, characters, and in particular, the special effects.  The visual effects were used very effectively in giving us a real sense of Carl’s mental state. They were also used very successfully to show how we visualize who we are, and as a result, internalize it.

If you’re in the mood for a good psychological thriller/horror movie with a bit of sci-fi, The Cell comes highly recommended. My score: 8/10(purchase-worthy).

Looking Back: The Lost Boys

The Lost Boys(1987) 

Directed by Joel Schumacher

Starring Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Feldman,  Corey Haim,  Jason Patric, and Jami Gertz

(WARNING! May contain a spoiler) I haven’t seen The Lost Boys(1987) in a long time. It was on my mind a few days ago, so I decided to watch it again. I have to say that this great coming-of- age vampire movie still stands the test of time, with very few elements that are dated.   Also, let’s not forget the soundtrack, which enhances the movie’s supernatural theme.   If you’re not familiar with this one, the story centers on Michael and Sam, who, along with their mother, relocate to Santa Clara, a coastal town that’s a haven for night creatures.

The Lost Boys is well written, engaging, and has great actors who gives some good performances. If you’re interested in a horror film with a unique take on vampirism, add this one to your collection. My score 8.5/10