Category Archives: Horror

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).

Hidden Horror Gems: StageFright

StageFright(1987)

Directed by Michele Soavi

Starring David Brandon,  Barabara Cupisti, Domenico Fiore

I discovered this movie Stagefright after watching a countdown of Giallo films, and I’m glad that I saw this one. At first, I thought it was going to be another typical slasher, but I was surprised at how engaging this movie was.

Here’s the basic premise without giving away any spoilers: An actor with a mental condition escapes an asylum and goes into a theater where a group of actors are rehearsing for a musical production.

A lot of ingredients made this film a must-see. I was impressed by the engaging story, excellent performances, soundtrack, the decent kills, and the gripping tension. If you are looking for a slasher that does not have the usual tropes, Stagefright comes highly recommended. My score(8.5-Add to your collection)

Looking Back: Hollow Man(2000)

Hollow Man(2000)

Directed by Paul Verhoeven

Starring Kevin Bacon, Elizabeth Shue, Josh Brolin, Joey Slotnick,  Mary Randle, Kim Dickens, Greg Grunberg, Willian Devane, and Rhona Mitra.

I watched Hollow Man  for the first time in over a decade, and I have to say that this movie is still impressive. What would you do if you couldn’t be seen? That is the question this movie explores. It also asks you to imagine the idea of gaining a new power, and then deciding on how to use it, for good or for evil.   Not to start comparing, but this film effectively examines the theme of invisibility more than The Invisible Man(2020), in my opinion.

For those of you who are not familiar with the plot, here is the basic premise: A research scientist decides to makes himself invisible, but his new ability produces some unfortunate results.

There’s a lot that can be said about Hollow Man, but this review may turn into a term paper, lol. However, you can not deny that the mix of sci-fi and horror, and the top-notch performances, particularly Kevin Bacon’s role as the main research scientist, gave the viewer some thoughts on the dynamics of invisibility and its effects on individuals and the larger society.

If you haven’t seen this film, you should definitely watch it and add it to your collection. My score: 9/10(Add to your library)

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)

Christopher Levy Launches CINEFLIK a new streaming service that cares


The film industry is ruled by companies that value corporate gain over artistry and films that tell real stories. These companies don’t give independent filmmakers a chance. In a time where it is so important that voices are heard through the imaginative minds of the creatives out there with a dream. 
 

I have been in the film industry for two decades. I have seen how they operate with a tunnel vision focus on numbers and sales. Large studios and others are taking advantage of independent filmmakers. They are not given a fair chance to showcase their talents, and they are not being adequately paid for their art. I have been a producer for several studios and I have seen how they turn everything into numbers. There is no creativity, there is no freedom. Everything turned into a walking barcode that depicted your worth. All you look for is the next “big hit”. The old saying that you are as good as your last movie constantly in playback in your head. 

I quit everything in 2019 and set to reinvent myself and what I stand for. I started my own production company to seek out true talent with beautiful stories, now adding to the distribution side, having a presence in Cannes, Berlin, and L.A’s AFM. It is not enough that these films are being made, but they deserve the opportunity to be seen.

CINEFLIK is a streaming service built for people who want exposure, a platform to showcase creativity and talent. Whilst we are not as established as Amazon, HBO max, and others, what sets us apart is that we care. We care about the integrity of filmmaking and the efforts that you have put in, as an artist to create these films. You are not just a number to us, we will also put in our all to make sure your story has the opportunity for maximum exposure. That is why I have also partnered with INFILMS Magazine to promote filmmakers. 

A streaming service that cares about art and also the filmmakers 

With CINEFLIK, the film owners decide on the price of rental and receive a cut of 80%. We will give you a fair price because we understand how other larger companies will try and take advantage. We will not compromise the opportunity for distribution with fair compensation. For example, Amazon pays only 6 cents per hour, for up to 99,999 hours streamed in a period of 365 days, tied in with an exclusive rights clause. Not only are they taking advantage, but they are making sure that you are legally unable to sell or share your stories with others. If you rent your film for $1.99, you will get $1.59 with CINEFLIK as opposed to $0.06 you would get from Amazon, with 100 downloads is a difference between $159 and $6 with Amazon.
We only keep 20% to maintain the site.

Unlike other services we also don’t follow a set of rules and requirements that may restrict distribution. For instance, Redbox has a list of preferred titles and requests, like; Action genre with a recognizable cast, supernatural horror, and family films that are animated standalone features. They only accept “new” titles that have been produced in a rolling two-year time span, they don’t consider films that have previously been available on DVD or via SVOD streaming services, NC-17 ratings and features under 80 minutes are out of the questions and don’t even think about direct television in the Comedy or Drama genre or Foreign Language films or Documentaries. With all these restrictions, they are not accepting of a variety of content, effectively closing doors to many filmmakers. On top of that, they set the price and pay around $2.75 to $3.50 per disc, this is largely dependent on the cast, genre, and a fit for their customers. A factor that is completely determined by themselves, which doesn’t sound fair at all. The film owners would have to pay for the DVDs and they would have complete control of how many times your movie is rented. We do not want to go down this path, CINEFLIK is fair, we set the pricing together with the film owner, we respect that they deserve to have their films and shows distributed at a fair price. We respect and accept all submissions of genres, the audience is always evolving and we want to anticipate what they want by providing a range of films and shows. 

This marks a new chapter to promote independent filmmakers in a way that does not involve bias or pure judgment of how much money they can generate. CINEFLIK carries everything, including, Classic Movies, Independent Films, short and full-length Features, as well as all genres of Television shows. We embrace creativity and have a thirst for real stories and originality. We want your trust in your films. Let us take you onboard and together we can discover a whole new audience for you. I am excited about the future, we can challenge the underlying issues of the film industry together and pave the way for real stories and talent that is often overlooked by Hollywood executives. 

Let’s take this challenge on together, no more waiting, no more negotiations, no more banging on the wrong door. We are here to make it happen.

You can access CINEFLIK here http://www.cineflik.com
Membership is always free.