Horrorfest 2014 Presents: Grabbers (2012, Jon Wright)


The British have given us plenty of quality and classic horror films over the years, and Grabbers continues that nice tradition. It’s a horror comedy science fiction movie that once events spiral out of control the film becomes relentlessly entertaining, even though like many films this one borrows from other classics. Still director Jon Wright and a really good cast offer a unique and humorous spin on the whole “Aliens invade small town and try to eat the residents” shtick that has been done before. And the creature effects are quite good in this case for a cult film that doesn’t have a big budget; one of the things I like about horror movies is that since many of them are not well funded you get to see directors trying to create fictional realities the best they can on a limited scale and budget.

There is also a bit of a romantic element, as cops O’ Shea (Richard Coyle) and Lisa (Ruth Bradley) fight and argue while suppressing a growing attraction for each other. Also in the cast is Russell Tovey as Dr. Smith, and David Pearse as Brian, the local pub owner. Most of the jokes are alcohol related in nature, because the aliens are repelled by booze-if the people drink the aliens cannot suck out their blood. One of my favorite parts is when a drunk Lisa stumbles around-something that recalls many a night out either drinking or being around drunks. Even though the last act does borrow a tad from Aliens this film is really awesome, and I enjoyed watching it. Sometimes a horror movie doesn’t have to be really scary or gore filled to be a good or great movie.

Horrorfest 2014 Presents: Wishmaster (1997, Robert Kurtzman)


Even though Robert Kurtzman directed this nasty and entertaining piece of work much of this film has the look and feel of a Wes Craven movie. Which makes sense considering that the master of horror produced this film, the first in a series of movies about a sinister djinn that is released into the world, creating havoc and plaguing the living. As the insane and gory opening reveals, this foul creature requires three wishes so that it may be free to walk the earth, something that no one should ever want. This monster is portrayed in human form with wonderful sneering menace by Andrew Divoff, who is given plenty of horribly funny one liners. This film may be a reflection of other films such as the cult Leprechaun series, and yet it stands apart from those because its really creepy with only small bits of humor involved. Plus you have Robert Englund, Ted Raimi, Tony Todd, Kane Hodder, Reggie Bannister and other famous horror movie actors who have been in numerous classics over the years involved in this movie, which makes their cameos (save for Englund, who has a big part) fun to notice.

It also helps this movie that the female lead is pretty great-Alexandra, played by Tammy Lauren, who quickly realizes she is in over her head. The scenes where the dijnn plagues her, then later on tempts her with wishes are both freaky and engaging. And of course this film has multiple horrible things happening to people who actually make wishes, bringing to mind the idea that one should not only be careful what they wish for, but also that one should be really specific. Or just not make any wishes at all, considering that’s what the diabolical dijnn wants you to do. I also liked how the film concluded, as it was a bit of a fun surprise, and this movie has plenty of nasty elements to keep viewers who hunger for such things entertained. I’m not sure if I want to view the sequels although I’m reminded of The Prophecy, although 90s horror film series with mythical beings (depending on your point of view and beliefs) that turned out to be fun and enjoyable, so perhaps I’ll give the Wishmaster series a shot as well.

Horrorfest 2014 Presents: Below (2002, David Twohy)


David Twohy has mastered the art of the B-movie and relies on good old fashioned solid movie craftsmanship. Below is a throw back to old school haunted house movies with a modern twist, although it is set during WW II on an American submarine. After the sub picks up a few survivors weird things begin to happen on deck. Unexplainable and very creepy things. It doesn’t help matters that a German warship is chasing after them, or that the previous captain of the sub died under mysterious circumstances. Even before bizarre events start occurring the ship’s crew is rattled and nervous, which reminds me of a classic submarine movie, Das Boot (1981). This film benefits from its all cast of Bruce Greenwood, Olivia Williams, Matthew Davis, Holt McCallany, Scott Foley, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Flemyng and Dexter Fletcher. Its funny watching Flemyng, who is British, play an American crew member, and you also have Galifianakis in a rare dramatic role, which he should play more often because he’s rather good here. The film largely relies on atmosphere, which is laid on thick, and there are very few jump scare moments so the ones that pop up are utilized to heavy effect. Also Bruce Greenwood is the stoic replacement captain, and as the film goes on he slowly loses his grip on reality and what is really going on.

What I really also like about this movie is the banter between the crewmen, which feels realistic, and also the fact that Twohy resists many haunted house style cliches, choosing to attempt a movie that has both style and subsistence. Although there really isn’t much else to Below besides some political and social commentary that is not really explored, the film itself is another example of Twhoy’s talents as a director. Plus I really like Olivia Williams as an actress-she has a quiet grace to her, and she has played both sympathetic and antagonist roles in the past and in the present. Plus that ending is wonderfully mysterious, giving the viewer cause to question certain events and wonder about fate, and what possibly happened.

MadMan’s December Movie Challenge


The goal is to try and view as many films as possible in 31 days to end the year. Right now I’ve viewed:

1. Birdman (2014)-Great
2. Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb (1971, Holt)-Mediocre
3. Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972, Gibson)-Decent
4. The Toxic Avenger (1984, Kaufman)- Shittastic
5. Gone Girl (2014, Fincher)-Great
6. The Yards (2000, Gray)-Really Good
7. The Visitor (1979)-Decent
8. My Darling Clementine (1946, Ford)-Great
9. Warrior of the Lost World (1983, Worth)-Garbage
10. Safety Last (1924)-Really Good
11. Gamera vs Baurgon (1966)-Awful
12. Little Odessa (1994, Gray)-Really Good
13. The Atomic Brain (1964)-Crap
14. Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993, Allen)-Wonderful
15. Thief (1981, Mann)-Great
16. Sherlock Jr. (1924, Keaton)-Amazing
17. Seven Chances (1925, Keaton)- Great
18. Batman Forever (1995, Schumacher)-Decent
19. The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974, Baker)-Fun
20. The Iceman (2012, Vromen)-Solid
21. The Crying Game (1992, Jordan)- Excellent

Let’s Not Get Physical


Today I walked into a Target and I realized after spending an hour in the electronics department that there was very little that I wanted. I don’t need any of this crap-hell no one does-but I really believed this today. Maybe their selection is terribly limited at this point,  yet it’s always been limited. No instead I am realizing that physical media is almost dead, more zombiefied than anything else.

Well I will admit I thought about a Blu Ray player and I was wishing I had the money for a bigger TV. Gaming systems are nice however I have actual pressing monetary needs. Yet I still at times make a purchase-but these days its used. A lot of my CD collection is from Half-Priced Books and even then I’m considering buying music online.

The Cloud and digital downloads are making it less necessary to own physical copies of Blu Rays and DVDs. I’m awaiting a time when everything will be online, although we are practically at that point already. This is a good thing for us consumers yet bad news for the big chain stores. Best Buy in particular.