Oct 31, 2014

Review: Return of the Fly (1959)

With a surprisng amount of depth, The Fly rose above its B-movie roots to be a more than competent movie. With some pretty serious implications and some slightly horrifying elements, it's just as good a movie as David Cronenberg's version. Just in a different way. Sadly, director Kurt Neumann died only a month after the premiere and never saw his movie become the hit that it did.

No doubt that it's too much to hope for Return of the Fly matching its predecessor from just a year earlier. At the very least it was nice to be able to look forward to Vincent Price back as Francois Delambre. The man is like silk onscreen and would probably never look out of place in any kind of role. Ever. He probably should've been the one cast as Genghis Khan, not John Wayne. They say hindsight is 20/20 though.

Review: The Conjuring

I heard a lot about The Conjuring when it was released in July of 2013. It generated a lot of word of mouth and made a killing at the box office, in the summer no less instead of the month of October as you'd think. I'm not the type to go see horror movies in theatres though. I'm too much of a baby for that, but I knew I'd see it eventually.

With Malaysian director James Wan at the helm who boasts titles like Saw and Insidious, there did appear reason for me to hope that The Conjuring could be a good horror movie. I was a little leery though about writers Chad Hayes and Carey Hayes who are credited with titles like Whiteout and the 2005 House of Wax. The Conjuring however is based on true events, centered around Ed and Lorrain Warren who were paranormal investigators beginning in the 1950's. They were best known for their investigation into the real Amityville Horror case, so there's definitely a good solid base there at least.

Oct 30, 2014

Review: The Fly (1958)

After having seen David Cronenberg's The Fly, it was only a matter of time before I'd see the original 1958 version. While it was certainly gory and special effects laden, it had some pretty significant dramatic touches that made it a pretty tough movie to get through. Add in Jeff Goldblum's superb performance and you've got yourself a sci-fi classic.

Interestingly enough, I've actually already seen a Kurt Neumann directed sci-fi movie before in Kronos. Although fun in a B-movie kind of way, I was expecting a bit more out of The Fly. Based on a short story by George Langelaan which was published in Playboy magazine, I was expecting a lot more in fact. If the remake was so good, then this had to be good as well right?

Oct 29, 2014

Review: Mr. Sardonicus (1961)

Another entry in the gimmicky William Castle schlockfests, Mr. Sardonicus required audience participation to further the story. In order to decide the fate of a certain character, audience members were asked to relay their opinion with glow-in-the-dark cards. With a thumbs up or a thumbs down, the ending would apparently vary depending on what the audience would vote.

According to the "legends," only one ending was ever shown. However, it would appear that William Castle never shot another ending at all and it was all just a marketing ploy to attract people to check out the movie. The technology to "choose" an ending in theatres didn't exist at the time anyway, so it's all pretty amusing to think about now.

Oct 28, 2014

Review: Paranômaru akutibiti: Dai-2-shô - Tokyo Night [Paranormal Activity 2: Tokyo Night] (2010)

So it's true that Paranormal Activity 2: Tokyo Night is not officially part of the American Paranormal Activity series. I just couldn't stop myself from seeing it again and writing a review for it. I live for weird stuff like this and it's just too wacky that there's somehow a Japanese sequel to Paranormal Activity.

I'm curious though as to how this movie was allowed to go through at all. You would think that Paramount, which distributes PA movies, would want to prevent a movie like this from ever coming out. Oren Peli actually got credit, was that all that was needed? It seems to have done quite well at the Japanese box office, but I guess it never had a chance of making big money worldwide. Maybe it's just not worth the fight to go all across the Pacific.

Review: House on Haunted Hill (1959)

William Castle was known to be an expert at making B-movies. His filmography dates back to the early 1940's, pretty much ten years before Roger Corman made his first movie. What was unique about Castle though were his promotional talents along with implementing different gimmicks that were executed during his movie showings. Strangely enough, he also happens to be the producer of Rosemary's Baby.

The gimmick he used for House on Haunted Hill was a skeleton with red glowing eyes. Attached to a wire above the audience, it would "float" out during the climax. I don't know about you but that just sounds like a lot of fun. I'm not sure if it actually scared people then, but it's kind of sad you don't hear about things like that being done anymore because I think a lot of people would have a momentary heart attack. No one would expect it. Word would get out pretty quick though with everyone having a smartphone, so only the first viewers would really get a kick out of it.

Oct 27, 2014

Review: Afflicted (2013)

Afflicted caught my attention from a review that fellow blogger Peter Pluymers did a while back. You can find check out his blog here: My Opinion as a Movie Blogger. The fact that it's a Canadian film and that it happens to be a found footage horror film made it stick out in my mind as something I should definitely see.

Directed and written by newcomers Derek Lee and Clif Prowse who have only done shorts before this, also star as the main characters in the film. It's crazy to think that with only $318,000, they were able to shoot scenes in Barcelona, Paris and Italy with pretty good special effects thrown in for good measure. Although it didn't make back its budget theatrically, I hope that it's doing well on video and any other mediums because it deserves it.

Review: Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014)

I still can't believe how disappointing Paranormal Activity 4 was. All the same, I'm kind of anxious to see if Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones can right the ship. I think that's just me getting greedy from how well the second and third sequels worked out. I mean a decline was bound to happen at one point. Law of diminishing returns right?

In all, Paranormal Activity is a horror franchise that's somehow been able to stave off the usual decline in quality for sequels. Maybe the makers had made a deal with a demon or something? With movie number 4, it would appear that the deal has gone south. PA:TMO isn't a straight up sequel, but more of a spin-off that tries to clear the air before Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension comes out in 2015 which I believe will be a direct sequel to PA4.

Oct 26, 2014

Review: The Fly II (1989)

David Cronenberg's The Fly is an insane movie, just pure insanity. It's horrifying, it's disgusting and it's a real heart wrencher truth be told. So it's no wonder that a sequel had to be made right? A shame that the only returning actor is John Getz. It is however directed by Chris Walas who was responsible for the creature effects in The Fly.

Walas has no previous experience in directing. But all the same, it wasn't a terrible idea to hand the reigns to the guy who did such a good job for the effects right? I wouldn't automatically think so anyway, but there are some risks for sure. Can Walas manage to do as good a job on the special effects as he did for The Fly and direct a decent movie at the same time? There's a lot of juggling there for sure but I was ready to give him the benefit of the doubt anyway.

Review: Zombie Apocalypse (2011)

Zombie Apocalypse is one of the collaborations between The Asylum and Syfy. It's the kind of collaboration that is sure to disappoint many who happen to tune into the movie on TV or rent it without being aware of who The Asylum really is. There's money to be made on schlock like this though and The Asylum is going to make it. They've practically cornered the market of ultra cheap productions that astound at times with their badness, so good for them.

In terms of production values, this is probably on the higher end in terms of what you usually see out of The Asylum. They've also managed to lasso Ving Rhames and Taryn Manning into starring roles, so there's that I guess. Manning never really got out of the shadows of 8 Mile and Hustle & Flow, but really Rhames? I suppose that movies like Rogues Gallery and Piranha 3D in 2010 signaled the beginning of the end for him, which is too bad.