Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hell Night (1981, Tom De Simone)

Hell Night is a film I remember seeing the video box for many times when I was younger. I knew of Linda Blair from the Exorcist and had read that her career pretty much spiraled into a series of lame horror films, cameos and spoofs of her most famous role. At the time I was into horror movies but mostly slashers and zombies and Hell Night looked like a crappy haunted house movie. I used to actually get this movie mixed up with Motel Hell, another one I had seen on the video shelves numerous times but never had much interest in. I can't remember what made me finally watch this but I found an out of print Anchor Bay double feature with Fade to Black and figured I couldn't go wrong.

Alpha Sigma Rho fraternity is taking four pledges to old Garth Manor to spend the night. The manor was the site of the brutal murder/suicide of the Garth family. The only remaining Garth was made to watch his murderous father's suicide as the only fate worse than death. When the Police arrived though, only three bodies were found. The gates to the property are locked and they are too high (and spiky) to be climbed. If the pledges make it through the night, they will be accepted into the fraternity. The pledges, which include rich boy Jeff (Peter Barton), surfer Seth (Vincent Van Patten), slutty May (Jenny Neumann) and outcast Marti (Linda Blair), start hearing and seeing weird things but soon realize they are being spooked by the fraternity president and his friends. Or are they?

Hell Night has a lot going for it. A great setup, fun characters, realistic and gory deaths/makeup effects. The dialogue is pretty silly and just plain bad at times, but the movie is still enjoyable. Linda Blair, who is always fun to watch and looks very cute in this film, proves her acting skills....or lack thereof (sorry Linda). The rest of the cast are decent, including Friday the 13th part 4's Peter Barton and Rock N' Roll High School's Vincent Van Patten. The film has lots of surprises and the fate of some of the characters is surprising too. So despite a few flaws, this is a real fun midnight movie that should please fans of slashers, monsters and haunted houses.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fade to Black (1980, Vernon Zimmerman)

Not to be confused with the more well known Jay-Z film (which I keep coming across whenever I look for any info about this film). Fade to Black is a movie that I read about in an old issue of Fangoria about a year and half - two years ago. I had seen Breaking Away a few years before that and loved it, especially Dennis Christopher's performance as the "Ity-in training" Dave Stoller. Fade to Black's plot about a film fanatic losing touch with reality was not like any other film I had ever seen before and there was just something about it that peaked my curiosity.

Eric Binford (Dennis Christopher) likes movies. Okay, he LOVES movies, more than anything in the world. He works as a movie reel/poster delivery boy and lives with his Aunt Stella (Eve Brent Ashe), who thinks of him as a worthless loser. He is taunted by co-worker Richie (Mickey Rourke) and yelled at for his constant screw ups by his boss (Normann Burton). His life starts looking up when he meets Marilyn O'Connor, a Marilyn Monroe-lookalike (Linda Kerridge), who agrees to go out with him. When she doesn't show up, Eric goes over the deep end and starts becoming the characters in his favorite movies to get revenge on those who wronged him.

Fade to Black is not a perfect film. It has some flawed characters and the story jumps around a lot. Despite these shortcomings, this film is brilliant. I really connected with the story (myself being a film nut) and Dennis Christopher as Eric Binford is probably my single favorite character from any movie ever. When he starts his first transformation into James Cagney, the result is amazing. Christopher is so unbelievably talented that he single handedly carries the entire film. The people in Eric's life who give him grief (his Aunt Stella, Richie, his boss, Marilyn) are a fun lot of characters and all complement Binford perfectly. A special nod to the stunning Linda Kerridge as Marilyn whose disjointed character proves to be a perfect match for Eric. The main problem with the movie is the subplot about the police chasing Eric, including a burnout psychiatrist (Tim Thomerson) helping the cops and his new partner/love interest (Gwynne Gilford). Though these scenes hamper the film, the rest of the film is great. To me, this film is a joy and a must see despite its flaws.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Halloween Mix 2009 - DOWNLOAD NOW!

Ok folks. Here's the moment you've all been waiting for: Starmummy's annual Halloween Mix! This year was tough because I had exhausted most of my obvious choices for Halloween mixes already so I had to scour my vast music collection and look for some hidden, haunted gems. What I came up with I am very satisfied with. Hope you enjoy it.

Tell me what you think. You can download it here as a zipped folder:

1. Mad Puppet's Laugh (from Profondo Rosso)
2. The Damned - Restless
3. Grim Grinning Ghosts (theme from Disney's Haunted Mansion)
4. Rockwell - Somebody's Watching Me
5. The Rezillos - Flying Saucer Attack
6. Goblin - Witch (from Suspiria)
7. Siouxsie and the Banshees - Carcass
8. Roky Erickson & the Aliens - Night of the Vampire
9. Halloween - Trick or Treat
10. Japan - Halloween
11. The Cure - Subway Song
12. Red Cross - Linda Blair
13. John Zacherle - Coolest Little Monster
14. King Diamond - Halloween
15. Elvira - Full Moon
16. X - Devil Doll
17. Pseudo Echo - His Eyes (from Friday the 13th: A New Beginning)
18. Frantic Flintstones - Jack the Ripper (Nekro Blues)
19. David Hess - Now You're on Your Own (from Last House on the Left)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

He Knows You're Alone (1980, Armand Mastroianni)


Did that sound sinister? Well I tried. This film has one of those titles that alone is kind of scary. You figure the movie must be too. He Knows You're Alone came out right at the dawn of the slasher films and definitely took a lot of inspiration from Halloween. I remember renting this movie from my beloved Blockbuster and being very disappointed after. I thought the film was way too slow and talky with not enough of the red stuff. I found a copy at my local library and decided to give it another shot after recently reading a write up in an old issue of Fangoria.

Amy (Caitlin O'Heaney) is about to get married and while her fiancee is away for a weekend bachelor party, she notices someone following her. Her friends try to convince her she is crazy while her ex boyfriend Marvin (Don Scardino) tries to convince her to marry him instead. Is she imagining it or is she really being followed?

Well, watching this movie again several (roughly 11 or 12) years later unfortunately didn't change my opinion of this crappy slasher wannabe. It was way too talky and slow. The killer is revealed early on so there is pretty much no mystery whatsoever. Many scenes directly ripoff Halloween and the only really cool thing about the movie was the opening scene. The head in the fish tank would have been a nice touch if it didn't look like a mannequin. Oh, also this is Tom Hanks' film debut and unfortunately he's the only one with the slightest bit of likability (even though his character is pointless). In the sea of early slashers, this film is a turd amongst sharks.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Roadgames (1981, Richard Franklin)

Roadgames is not your average slasher, as the poster above would make you believe (that was not a dig, I love the poster). It is one of those movies that's really hard to categorize. I guess it's a suspenseful road movie. As most people know, Jamie Lee Curtis' movie career started in horror and this was one of those early horror movies that she was in (along with Halloween 1 & 2, The Fog, Prom Night and Terror Train) before becoming super famous. Though, as I said before, this isn't just another horror film.

Stacy Keach plays Pat Quid, a truck driver delivering a trailer full of meat across Australia. The night before he sets out on his long haul, he notices a man in a green van pick up a female hitch hiker and then puts out a few suspicious big bags of trash at their hotel the next morning. Quid then hears on the radio about a suspected killer going around and dismembering women. He puts two and two together and tries to prove that this man in the green van, whom he keeps seeing digging holes on the side of the highway, is the killer. Along the way he picks up a hitchhiker named Pamela (Jamie Lee Curtis) and together they try to follow the suspect and catch him in the act.

Roadgames has a lot going for it. First and foremost is Stacy Keach. Never would I think I would be so entertained by a movie that has a truck driver talking to his dingo (the ones that eat babies) in the cab of his truck for a good chunk of its running time. Keach is just so damn likable in this film that you can't help but root for him on his dangerous quest that at first seems like nothing more than a crazy hunch. Jamie Lee, though she doesn't really show up until about halfway through and then disappears until the end, is a real treat too. Australian director Richard Franklin, a Hitchcock devotee who even directed the (excellent) first Psycho sequel, adds a fair amount of mystery and tension to this very unique film. I've watched this movie 3 times in the past two years and though I may not call it a perfect film, I don't think I could ever get sick of it. It's just very well made and entertaining.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Tourist Trap (1979, David Schmoeller)

Here's a neat little horror film that many people haven't heard of. I had read something about it a few years ago and it sounded like something I would like. When I saw the cover art I knew instantly it was something I had to watch. It looked like a cross between Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween.

A young group of five friends get a flat tire on a rural road in the middle of nowhere. One of them goes to find a gas station to put some air in their spare tire. He stumbles upon a secluded house and ends up getting trapped inside by some unseen force. Suddenly, shit starts flying at him and he ends up getting impaled by a metal bar. The other four friends eventually stumble upon an old deserted tourist wax museum owned by recluse Mr. Slausen (Chuck Connors). They are warned not to go near the house next door but they don't listen and are soon stalked by Slausen's masked brother, who has extra sensory powers and can control his wax figures with his mind.

Though not really bloody or gory, Tourist Trap has many really creepy scenes. It was rated PG when it first came out but the DVD says its rated R, even though I've heard it's the same version. The killer, with his emotionless white masks, is a classic, underrated horror villain. As I stated before, he looks like a mix between Michael Myers and Leatherface. When he dresses up as a little girl and is seen playing with dolls, the creepiness meter goes to 10. The young cast is likable (including Tanya Roberts in one of her first roles) and Chuck Connors is great as Slausen. Also props to Pino Donaggio's frightening score.


Friday, October 16, 2009

At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul (1964, Jose Mojica Marins)

At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul is not the type of horror film I normally watch. I had actually never heard of it until Mykal from the great RADIATION CINEMA recommended it. I sent him a copy of Django Kill and in return he sent me a copy of this film. For some reason I just never got around to watching it until now. It's funny when someone mentions a film you've never heard of before and then all of a sudden the name keeps popping up. I started hearing more about Coffin Joe and the new UK Anchor Bay Coffin Joe box set (which is apparently a piece of shit) and it started to peak my curiosity towards this little Brazilian horror film from the 60s. I figured the month of October would be the perfect time to finally get around to watching it.

At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul is about an undertaker named Coffin Joe (a loose translation of the Portuguese name do Caixão) whose only care in life is the "continuity of the blood". In other words, he wants a son....badly. His wife Lenita is sterile which drives Joe crazy and he does whatever he can to find a woman to bear his child. Joe ends up a murderer, killing anyone who gets in his way. He is disgusted by the religious people in his town and does whatever he can to piss them off - he eats meat on Fridays, walks through graveyards on the Day of the Dead and other such taboo activities. Oh yeah, he also rapes women, cuts off people's fingers and pokes people's eyes out.

At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul is an instant classic in my mind. I wasn't sure what to expect but I was very glad that I finally watched this film. It was like a cross between an old silent black and white film and an exploitation film. The budget is super low but the filming style makes the film very spooky and ethereal. The character of Coffin Joe (played by director Jose Mojica Marins) is an instant classic horror villain, as imposing, scary and ruthless as any of your more well known villains. I loved everything about this film and can't wait to watch it again.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me (1981, J. Lee Thompson)

When I was a teenager I discovered slasher films. It became my genre of choice when perusing video stores. I would take a chance on any video with an eye catching cover that looked like it had the potential of being a gory slasher. Needless to say, the moment I saw the cover of Happy Birthday to Me I knew I had to see it. I still remember that my local Stop and Shop (which I still do my grocery shopping at) used to rent videos and that is where I first saw this film, roughly 13 or so years ago.

Happy Birthday to Me follows Virginia (Melissa Sue Anderson from Little House on the Prairie), a student at a private school where she is part of "the top 10", a group of ten carefree and occassional trouble making students. One by one, each of her friends starts dying horrific deaths at the hands of a mysterious killer. Virginia starts having blackouts and is unsure if she may in fact be the killer.

Happy Birthday to Me really delivers the goods. It has several gory, well thought out deaths, a great mystery storyline and a likable young cast (and Glenn Ford of course). At almost two hours long, the film surprisingly moves along at a quick pace and you really don't know who the killer is until the very end. Over the past year I have watched several Charles Bronson films directed by J. Lee Thompson and had no idea that he directed this until very recently. Thompson does a great job mixing the right amount of mystery, horror, action and drama.

(BTW, check out your local Wal Mart's $5 Halloween Horror section. This was one of their featured titles and they even had it for sale before its official release date)


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Martyrs (2008, Pascal Laugier)

Martyrs is a film I kept reading about. Mostly positive reviews though I didn't want to spoil it so I purposely didn't read any sort of synopsis before watching it. I knew it had something to do with kidnap and that was all. My friend (who burned me a copy of this) was the first person who told me that it wasn't a good movie. That was only one opinion and our opinions sometimes differ so I figured I'd give it a shot.

Martyrs is the story of a girl named Lucie (Mylene Jampanoi) who was kidnapped and tortured as a child. After escaping, she befriends Anna (Morjana Alaoui) and the two grow up together. Flash forward several years and the Lucie tries to kill the people in charge of her kidnapping and to pacify a monstrous woman who may or not be a figment of her imagination.

Well, my friend was right when he described the film as nothing more than torture porn. The make up effects and brutality captured in this film were expertly done, I will give the film makers that. Other than that, the film was garbage. It was too long, the torture scenes were too drawn out and pointless, the story didn't make very much sense and the big (anti) climax at the end was very disappointing. I love horror films, even stupid ones with no point but this film was actually torturous to watch. Seeing people get blown away, tortured, beaten and cut up for seemingly no reason doesn't do anything for me. The creature/woman following around Lucie had a few creepy scenes (it made me jump when it first appeared) but after that it just felt too forced. My advice would be to not believe the hype and skip this movie, unless pointless torture is your thing.


Monday, October 12, 2009

REC (2007, Jaume Balaguero & Paco Plaza)

I believe I heard about the Spanish horror film REC through it's American remake Quarantine (which I haven't seen). From what I've heard the two films are very similar, but it's pretty unanimous that REC is superior. I was given a copy of REC awhile ago but never got around to watching it. It wasn't until my friend, who watched the film at home by himself, told me that the end was so scary that it made him scream "WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT?" Little things like that are huge catalysts to make me watch a film asap. So was the film that scary?

REC follows a news reporter Angela (Manuela Velasco) and her cameraman who are doing a news story about the local firemen to see what their day to day work is like. After receiving a call that an old woman is stuck in her apartment building, they go to the apartment building and find a horrific sight. The woman is crazed and tries to attack but she is killed. As they try to leave, they are told by the authorities that the building is being quarantined and no one can leave. Panic ensues and soon we find that something hellish is going inside the apartment building beyond any one's wildest imagination.

Do you remember that episode of "Friends" where Joey is reading The Shining and it is so scary he has to put the book in the freezer? That was exactly how I felt about REC. I didn't actually do it though because the disc was from my local REDBOX and I didn't want to chance breaking it, but it was tempting. Watching REC was a truly horrifying, exciting and wonderful experience. I would consider REC one of the scariest movies I have ever seen where not only do you jump out of your seat several times, but some of the visions in this film will stay in your head and haunt you for a long time. The way the movie was filmed really worked well. Everything about it felt real and as if it was really happening. The makeup effects were very well done as was the acting. I watched the film in Spanish with English subtitles, staying away from the English dub and it was very easy to follow. I highly recommend this film for those Horror fans like myself that are always looking for a film to really scare the crap out of you. REC passes that test with flying colors.

(p.s. What the hell are flying colors? What a weird saying.)


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hills Run Red (2009, Dave Parker)

Hills Run Red is one of those movies that as soon as you read a brief synopsis, something clicks and you know you have to see it. This film, with its "mysterious lost horror film" storyline seemed like a sure-fire winner. Or is it a case of a good idea that ended up being a 90 minute air biscuit?

Hills Run Red follows Tyler (Tad Hilgenbrinck), an aspiring young film maker who is obsessed with a lost horror film from the early 80's called Hills Run Red. All that exists from the film is a trailer, which holds many clues that lead Tyler on a hunt to find out what happened to the film. It was banned after a few screenings and the director was never heard from again. Tyler finds the director's daughter (Sophie Monk) and with her help they seek out the original locations where the film was shot. Tagging along are Tyler's girlfriend (Janet Montgomery) and friend Lalo (Alex Wyndham). In their search, they encounter real horror when the secret of the film slowly unravels.

Hills Run Red has such a great storyline that I was really disappointed by the end result. The film generously borrows ideas from other recent horror films (Hostel, Saw and several others) and just doesn't live up to its full potential. The main character Tyler is about as deep as a rain drop, which really damages the film. I loved Tad Hilgenbrinck as Stiffler's brother in the huge guilty pleasure American Pie: Band Camp, but here he just doesn't fit well as the obsessed horror fan. I'll give props to the always awesome William Sadler for his role as the missing director Concannon and to the campy performance of the super hot Sophie Monk as Concannon's daughter. The overuse of CGI is also a big flaw in the film as are some of the silly attempts at drama (especially when Tyler forces Concannon's junkie/stripper daughter to get clean). The killer in the film is interesting at least and has a good back story (which I won't spoil) but it still wasn't enough to save the film. Overall, the film wasn't terrible and though it had some good things going for it, it was still disappointing. But it was watchable and I'm in a generous mood so I'll give it a 3/5 though it probably deserves a 2/5. Here's where those half ratings would come in handy.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Trick 'r Treat (2009, Michael Dougherty)

For those of you who follow any sort of horror film news, you have most certainly heard something over the last two years about a film called Trick 'r Treat. As you can see from the poster above, Trick 'r Treat was supposed to be released October 5 2007. Written and directed by the co-writer for Superman Returns (Michael Dougherty) and produced by that film's director (Bryan Singer), Trick 'r Treat was a throwback to the old horror anthologies like Creepshow, Tales from the Crypt, Black Sabbath, Vault of Horror, Trilogy of Terror and so many others that have been scaring the poop out of fans for years. As happens so often though, the film was delayed and then it was shelved. Something about not knowing how to market it or some horseshit. Regardless, almost two years to the day and Trick 'r Treat has finally been released (direct to video unfortunately). I have read so many positive reviews for the film and given the buzz for the film's long delayed release, it seems as though the delay has actually helped the film find the audience it may not have had if it were released two years ago with the small advertising it most likely would have been given.

As I mentioned before, Trick 'r Treat is a horror anthology made up of a few different stories. Instead of separate stories shown back to back, they are all intertwined and feature interactions between characters from each part. The stories include a young couple who learn the dangers of blowing out the candles in a jack o lantern, a college girl looking for the right guy on Halloween night, a school principal who has a few issues, a bunch of kids going to the sight of a school bus crash with an "offering" and a recluse who finds an intruder in his house.

One thing is for certain, Trick 'r Treat will become one of my yearly Halloween movies. Everything about the film exemplifies the fear, nostalgia and fun I feel around Halloween. The fun costumes, the decorations and the uncertainty of what you'll see is all abound in this wonderful film. I'd call it an instant classic. The characters are all fun and though I didn't really think the film was that scary, it was a little nerve wracking and tense in many scenes. The writing, directing and how the stories fit together like a puzzle were all great. It's a fun watch that I think a lot of people will connect with. I know I did.


Monday, October 5, 2009

The Antichrist (1975, Alberto De Martino)

Continuing on with my Exorcist ripoff reviews, here's an interesting film. I had heard the title before but didn't know much about it. My childhood friend who lives in Germany told me that he saw a double feature with I Drink Your Blood and L'antichristo and said it was a must see. I decided I'd trust him and give it a chance.

The Antichrist is the story of a paralyzed young woman named Ippolita (Carla Gravina) who wants nothing more than to walk again. After fearing that she is losing her sanity, her father (Mel Ferrer) and uncle (Arthur Kennedy), who is a priest, set up a meeting with a psychiatrist. Ippolita is hypnotized and miraculously begins walking. However, she also begins having dreams about her past life as a witch and becomes possessed. Of course the only thing to cure her is an exorcism.

The Antichrist is a strange movie. Rarely have I been so torn while watching a movie as to what my feelings towards it are. The first fifteen minutes of the film are absolutely brilliant. Unfortunately the film starts to go downhill from there. There are a few ups in the film that made me start to reconsider it's mediocrity but by the end I was just worn out. The film, at almost 2 hours in length, has far too many slow parts rendering it a tough watch. There are some scenes in the film that I would call classic (the opening scene, some of the possession scenes...oh and the goat scene) but it wasn't enough to carry the film. If this film had been an hour and a half it probably could have been a classic but as it is, it's a little disappointing. There are several obvious Exorcist rips (green barf, lots of four letter words and the basic possession/exorcism theme) but also some added originality (those poor frogs. Please tell me they were fake!). So I'd say give this one a shot but you're probably better off stopping halfway through for a beer or three and then going back to the film with a little buzz. I would like to add that the camerawork and direction are top notch and really feel like a big budget film. Ennio Morricone and Bruno Nicolai's score is also a big plus for the film (as always).


This film is available online at - check it out for yourself and see whether or not you agree with the review.

Exorcism (1975, Juan Bosch)

Here begins my Exorcist ripoff reviews. Why not just watch the Exorcist, one of the scariest (and best) horror films ever made? Well, maybe I will soon, but for now you're stuck with what I give you. In case you didn't know, after the Exorcist was released in 1973 a flurry of ripoffs came fast and furiously to cash in on the green puke and potty mouth of the original. In Spain, Paul Naschy's stab at an exorcism tale was greenlit after the success of The Exorcist. Apparently Naschy had already come up with the idea years before. Whether that's true, who knows as there are definitely several similar scenes in the two films.

Exorcism is the story of a priest (Paul Naschy) who is summoned by a family to help their daughter Leila (Grace Mills) who is possessed by the spirit of her father during some hippie black mass ceremony.

Wow, one sentence...and I nailed it. That really is all that needs to be said about this film. I could add that the first hour and fifteen minutes are boring and crappy and nothing happens. Only the last fifteen minutes does anything happen and that anything is the expected possession/exorcism. This is the first Naschy film I've seen and I've heard his werewolf movies are the ones to watch and he was pretty likable here. Not enough though to make the film good. It was watchable but just very mediocre and slow.


Friday, October 2, 2009

Island of the Fishmen (1979, Sergio Martino)

Island of the Fishmen. How could this movie be good? Then again, how could it not be totally fun and watchable? Anybody expecting a well though out, big budget thriller was obviously lobotomized or snacking on lead paint as a child. I first heard about this film when I was checking out some other Sergio Martino films. Martino, like many Italian directors of the 60's and 70's, has dabbled in many different genres: Spaghetti Westerns (Mannaja), Futuristic Sci Fi (2019: After the Fall of New York), Cannibal (Mountain of the Cannibal God). But he is definitely most renowned for his work in the Giallo genre (Case of the Scorpion's Tail, Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key and a few more). It was really after watching his enjoyable Giallo slasher Torso, I knew I had to see more. I figured it would be interesting to see what he could do in the creature horror genre.

Island of the Fishmen takes place at the end of the 19th century. Claude, an army doctor (Claudio Cassinelli) is lost at sea with a bunch of prisoners. Some mysterious creatures in the sea capsize their boat, killing some of the prisoners. The doctor and the remaining prisoners are left stranded on a mysterious island. They split up and soon Claude comes across the self appointed ruler of the island, Edmund Rackham (Richard Johnson) and his wife Amanda (Barbara Bach). Claude soon finds out the secret behind the creatures who killed the prisoners in the sea and Rackham's evil plan with them.

Island of the Fishmen was pretty much what I expected. Cheesy, fun and bad. This film was more of an action adventure monster movie than the horror film I assumed it was. Apparently, this film was re-cut with new gory scenes added in after it's original release under the titles Screamers and Something Waits in the Dark, which I would actually like to see. The thing that made this film watchable is the cast. I was familiar with Cassinelli from Mountain of the Cannibal God (he was actually in several Sergio Martino films before his tragic death while filming Martino's Fists of Steel), Richard Johnson from Beyond the Door and Fulci's Zombie and Barbara Bach from the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me (and for being Ringo Starr's wife). They were all fun to watch here, as were the fishmen themselves. They were sort of like hairy versions of the Creature from the Black Lagoon. This movie was about 15 minutes too long and deserves a 2/5 but I'll give it a 3/5 just for the sheer ridiculousness of it.


Army of Darkness (1992, Sam Raimi)

Continuing on with my review of the Evil Dead series, we have the (so far) final film, Army of Darkness. This film came to my attention well before I had even heard of Evil Dead. I remember when this film came out and my sister went to see it in the theater. I was too young but she told me how good it was and I was super jealous. The funny thing is that it took many years before I did end up seeing it, many years after seeing its two predecessors.

Army of Darkness begins as Evil Dead 2 ends...


...with our hero Ash (Bruce Campbell) going through a time warp opened up by the Book of the Dead. He (and his car) ends up in the year 1300 AD and must find his way back. Ash soon finds out that the only way back is to again retrieve the book. He goes on a journey to find the book and accidentally wakes an army of the dead, led by an evil version of Ash himself.

Army of Darkness leans further away from the horror of The Evil Dead and closer towards the humor of Evil Dead 2. To say it's even a horror film is a stretch. It's more of a Fantasy Horror Adventure Comedy. Whatever it is, it's a fun movie. Bruce Campbell is absolutely a joy to watch and the rest of the cast are all believable as a townspeople from the 14th century. Though horror fans may be a little disappointed expecting more of the same from the first two, Army of Darkness has enough gore and terrifying creatures to please. Overall, I would highly recommend grabbing this series if you don't already own it.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

My Halloween Challenge

Ok Boils and Ghouls. October is here finally and I have decided this year to do a 31 Horror Movie Marathon. That's right fiends, one horror movie a day for the entire month of Halloween. So expect a heapin' helpin' of hellish horror reviews coming your way this month.

The first day of Halloween is already over and I started the marathon with Island of the Fishmen (review coming after my Army of Darkness review). Today looks like it will be Paul Naschy's Exorcism. After that, Satan only knows what I'll watch next.

Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987, Sam Raimi)

October is here and what better film to start the best month of the year than Evil Dead 2? As I mentioned in my review of The Evil Dead, there is a lot of contrary beliefs on which film is better. Many people think the over the top comedic gore of part 2 is far superior to the original's more straight forward gory horror scares. The first time I watched Evil Dead 2, it was actually before I saw the first Evil Dead because I had heard it was better than the first.

The start of Evil Dead 2 is a re-cap of the events in Evil Dead, however some of the details have been changed. Well, mainly the fact that it is just Ash (Bruce Campbell) and Annie are alone at the old house in the woods. Annie becomes possessed by the Book of the Dead, as does Ash's hand. A search and rescue team also show up at the house to find out what happened to the archaeologist and his wife who originally discovered the Book of the Dead. Needless to say, the evil spirits have already been unleashed and it is up to Ash to protect them against this unknown force.

Evil Dead 2 is first and foremost, a fun film. It is gory, but is also hysterically funny. Bruce Campbell really hits one out of the park in his role as Ash. There is a lot more physical humor than the first and it is obvious that Campbell and director Raimi are huge Three Stooges fans. As I mentioned in my review of The Evil Dead, I think Evil Dead 2 is the lesser of the two films. I prefer the over the top, nonstop gore and scares of the first to the more comedic second installment. Still, I'd recommend part 2 for any horror fan, though I doubt many haven't already seen it.