Friday, August 31, 2012

Chucky's gonna go Bro!: Child's Play 3 (1991)

Child's Play 3 (1991)
Rating: **1/2
Starring: Justin Whalin, Perrey Reeves and Jeremy Sylvers

The last time we left possessed killer doll Chucky, he took a lot of bruising once again as he got plastic doll parts forced into his body and cutting him in half in the process, melted with liquid plastic and had his head inflated and popped like a eight week old zit in a doll factory. All by the same kid he is trying to possess some years earlier, Andy Barclay, and his older step sister. Apparently nobody noticed this hot, melted mass of bloody plastic parts for over eight years or so (or maybe they just didn't care?) but by the time they did, the factory's on a dry run. Literally.

During a clean-up, a winch picks up this messed-up chunk of fleshy doll bits, metal claws piercing into its chest and letting the blood drip all over a vat of liquid plastic. The liquid then bubbles and we watch Chucky gets reborn. (again)

But no, really, did anybody paid attention to the melted remains of a toy gushing blood?

It turns out, despite after so much bad publicity Andy brought upon to the Good Guy Dolls, the same company that distributes these toys wants to make a comeback, wherein shipping starts weeks later and in celebration to this triumphant return, the head of the company gets the first doll fresh from the factory. And we all know who that doll is.

After torturing and strangling this guy with a yoyo, Chucky easily locates Andy, now 16 years old and attending military school after some "adjustment issues". And as if life wasn't hard enough for this kid, Andy now has to put up with arseholes that abuse their position in this school, same goes to the officials who don't give a damn about anybody but themselves. Things spiral down to a bigger hell hole when Chucky, mailing himself to the military school, finds a new body to possess; that of a young cadet named Tyler after figuring out that the boy's younger body might be more useful than Andy's. With this, Chucky decides to stop Andy and anybody else who would get in the way of his mission to possess the kid. And being stuck in a place where live rounds are everywhere, that may not be a hard thing to do for a killer doll...

Sadly, much of the thrills of Child's Play 3 were lacking in comparison to the first two of the series and I believe the problem that caused this was the plot; Don Mancini, the writer of the first two, was forced to do this one. Of course, nine months is an awfully short time to work on a new script so the lack of ideas led this being a hasty entry to the franchise which explains a lot of ideas that weren't working right.

The military backdrop, for one, is a tough ride to pull through; while it did call for some good thrills seeing Chucky preying on people in such a crowded location, he just seems out of place with all the adults going around being  serious and mature. Even the Tyler character is a little too old to be playing with dolls and the kid's age is one thing that really affects the whole movie since a large part of Chucky's notoriety was his constant attempt to possess a young innocent kid and Tyler ain't young. I mean, really, how old is this kid? Would a kid in his age say "wow" to a talking doll's commercial? Perhaps it's an odd attempt to add some humor to the movie, but it's not working, personally speaking.

Another thing about the movie that didn't sit well with me was the pacing. It kept itself steady on the whole stalk and kill routine, all the while building up with Andy either trying to fit in to a more demanding world, or warning little Tyler of the evils his new "friend" is capable of. Again, no avails on both. It's awfully tedious and nearly similar of a plot from the entry prior to this, only with a different location and with an additional lead.

With little people to care about (and a lot of them left alive that should have been killed), the last half hour did make up for this with a climax taking place in a nearby fun park. More specifically, a roller coaster-slash-dark ride. (At a traveling carnival...wait, what?) The scene is as grueling as it is fun, with our killer doll getting all beaten up and mutilated again and again, leading to an ending that's more gruesome compared to the first two.

So, despite some plot holes and pacing problems, Child's Play 3 is still watchable thanks to, yet again, Chucky. As did the rest of other successful horror icons out there, Chucky's rising star has reached to the point here that everybody's warming up and rooting for ole' Charles Lee Ray to do some slashing. He's an entertainer now and a cheesy one from this point on, living up to the people's wants and needs for him to cut a throat and hackle at the dying victim. Plus, while the murders in this entry are no different from the first two in terms of gore and splatter, it's still a passable count especially if it involves the little guy switching paintball bullets with live rounds.

So is it a bad flick? Not entirely, just lost some sparks here and there. Child's Play 3 still deserves its views and it's still a hoot of a fun ride if it hits you in the right moment. In fact, the Child's Play series happens to be, personally, one of the slasher franchises I know that's yet to make an awful entry. (And no, I don't think Seed of Chucky is shit. I think it's downright hilarious!) It's a mediocre, and inevitable, dip to the cheese, but worth its time.

1 male strangled with yoyo
1 male crushed in a truck compactor
1 male scared to a heart attack
1 male gets a throat cut with razor
1 male shot with rifle by accident
1 male decimated by grenade
1 male shot on the head
Total: 7

Slasher Mask Vol 19

Five slasher masks, randomly chosen, falls under my verdict. 
Here's this volume's picks:

 Bloody Bloody Bible Camp- I'm really dying to see this slasher! I mean look at that! Transvestite killer in a nun's habit and a devil mask?! Tell me that ain't cool, and I'll stick a bread stick up yer-

 Deadtime- For an awfully sucky rock and roll slasher, it features a rather cool looking, if not overused, potato sack mask. If only they did a better job with the story, and less CG kill, then this would have been a fun flick...

The Last Horror Film- Though rarely seen, the killer in The Last Horror Film donned a caped and top-hat over a very dark suit, plus a ski mask. Kinda mysterious lookin', and a bit dramatic. Guess it's better to keep it that way. Good!

 Madison County- Ah yes, my hype-turned-traitor. Here's the biggest poop about this movie: the mask look fake. And cheap. Like the movie.

Night of the Dribbler- This awfully rare slasher, which I'm dying to see as well, features a very kooky lookin' killer. Not only is this guy wearing a basketball over his head, but it's a basketball with an evil grin.

What's next, a villain with an 8-Ball over his head-

Oh wait, Marvel Comics already done that. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Pair of Eggheads: Blood Link (1982)

Blood Link (1982) (AKA "The Link")
rating: ***
starring:  Michael Moriarty, Penelope Milford and Geraldine Fitzgerald

It's always believed that twins have this sort of connection between them. Clairvoyance, as some people might call it, where in one can feel or even see the things their sibling are experiencing.

This is what Blood Link dwells in most of its time, a rare slasher, exploitative in execution, about two identical Siamese Twins (both played by Michael Moriarty) separated at birth and lived lives totally in contrast from the other. One, growing up as Craig Manning, is a respected and well-loved doctor in the USA while his twin brother Keith, who supposedly died in a house fire in Cleveland at the age of 17, grew up a ruthless serial murderer in far off Germany who has an MO of stabbing his dates to death after sleeping with them. When Craig began to see visions of his brother's murder spree, he decided to track him down before he can continue to murder.

All the while, Keith's being mistaken by the people whom his twin brother had treated or known, as Craig. In order to make sure none of them would recognize his true identity, he began to kill these people, much to the attention of his brother who decides to go all the way to Hamburg and help the police there capture his psychotic sibling, under the lead of one inspector Hessinger. Will Craig get his name cleared and stop his brother? Or will Keith be free to murder in another day?

Blood Link plays its game as a thriller with slasher film elements; mainly sleaze and a sizable bodycount, since the majority of its playtime involves its plot rather than the actual stalkings. Sadly, the movie's plot never really did had that much going for it, since originality is really out of the question (didn't we already had a movies involving psychic visions and murders? Et Al "Eyes of Laura Mars" or even the obscure Fulci giallo The Psychic (1977)?), and it plays itself so straight-faced that it kinda come off as dull, cliched, not mention full of plot holes and coincidences. The kills are not very gory, but it kinda fits the tone of the movie, so I guess I can let that pass.

The movie's still engaging despite it's unoriginality, however; I do compliment Michael Moriarty's dual role as both the good and the bad twin, albeit his good character has no chemistry whatsoever between the two leading ladies that sandwiching him, much to the film's sleazy nature which could also be a good thing for some, but I can never be that shallow. To top it, they even decided to do a sleazier climax, but gutsy, I admit, involving one of the leading ladies distracting the evil twin by letting him rape her, for the cops to track him down through his brother's clairvoyance! That, and Ennio Morricone doing the movie's haunting and classy score.

In the end, we get a head-scratcher shock scare (Ala Carrie (1978)), and an ambiguity to whether all things are good or not. It's forgettable, but worth some time while you're at it.

1 female stabbed on the back with switchblade
1 female stabbed to death with switchblade
1 male suffers a heart seizure
1 female stabbed to death with switchblade
1 female stabbed on the back with switchblade
1 male stabbed on the chest with switchblade
1 male stabbed on the chest with knife
1 male and 1 female crushed by a car (flashback)
total: 9

Chile con Slasher: Angel Negro (2000)

Angel Negro (Black Angel) (Chile, 2000)
Rating: *
Starring: Álvaro Morales, Andrea Freund and Blanca Lewin

As a slasher fan, I'm the kind of guy who gives chances to a country's "first" hack 'n stab film and I often end up liking them, like Russia's Trackman (2007) and Israel's Rabies (2010).

Now, I decided to give a turn for Chile's first slasher movie, which just so happen to be marketed under Troma releases. Guess I should have seen the terrible ratings from that fact alone but, oddly, this one's completely devoid of the usual Troma fare. It's not weird nor is it campy. In fact, it's very bleak and often gritty, but it just didn't cut enough body parts to keep me interested and the plot itself is all too generic.

Starting with a black and white recording ala found footage, Angel Negro chronicles a group of five's post-graduation celebration, where they decided to make-out near an oceanside cliff. But one thing led to another and it appears one of them, a sullen girl named Angel, falls to her death. Fast forward ten years later, Gabriel (who was the dead girl's lover) is still haunted by the events of that day and soon begins to notice his friends starting to turn up as corpses at the morgue he works at. Obviously, someone is killing in the name of Angel, someone who's suspiciously female, suspiciously angry and wearing a cheap white mask.

You may think you know the story and you're right; Angel Negro comes out under the Post-Scream (1996) boom, where teens are now optional victims and, more often, folks are trying to find a new way to mold their slasher kicks. But Chile apparently wanted to go back to doing the usual murder mystery angle like that of Scream or even the traditional Italian Giallo but sadly, it missed a lot of opportunities to make it any good. A lot.

First is the pacing; you got to hand it to Angel Negro to do the most sluggish pacing I've ever seen in a murder mystery. It's mostly talk; talks about the crime (and how sulky our lead is), how horrifying that fateful day was (which is really, horrifying. Depressing even! not) with barely any stalkings, or worse, notable killings! The kills are very uninspired, ranging from stabbings, garroting and ugh, two shootings, and with the film's low onscreen bodycount, it almost felt like they didn't really happen or will they matter which is odd because the killer is offing people who're guilty. Normally, I should be thrilled, but with lame kills come me being half-away awake and sitting on my own spit puddles.

Upsides for the movie would be the cool-looking killer, though the mask could use some more personality (political metaphor is not an excuse for making a killer wear such a lame mask) and the very gritty backstory involving Angel, which really builds up one's anticipation of a kill slaughter for those responsible. But as always, they had to ruin it with such formulaic rundown and very lame murders.

Guess it's trying to find some sort of recognition via release rights through Troma but that ain't foolin' anybody. Angel Negro is just too darn serious to be taken lightly, yet too plain to be considered as a slasher fan's must have or must watch. So, yeah, what else can I say.

Well, it's not really what I can say, but what I can do...

(Kicks an Angel Negro DVD off a cliff*)

1 female falls off a cliff
1 male seen with head wound
1 male found garroted with wire
1 male repeatedly knifed on the back
1 male stabbed with dagger
1 female shot
1 male shot, falls off a cliff
Total: 7

Boogie Down The Hood: Bones (2001)

Bones (2001)
Rating: ***1/2
Starring: Snoop Dogg, Pam Grier and Michael T. Weiss

What happens when New Lines Cinema tries to mash-up its own A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) - inspired supernatural slasher with the one and only Snoop Dogg? Bones (2001) happens, that's what.

Opening with what appears to be a vagrant being chased down by an enormous red-eyed black dog, a scene soon revealed to be on a "supernatural high" when the canine pursuer gets shot multiple times only for it to keep going.

Shifting our attention some time later, where two fraternity brothers just paid for some cocaine from a couple of drug dealers who, in turn, hid the coke in a nearby Gothic building to make sure they don't get searched, much to nuisance of the frat bros. The college kids did find their way to their drugs eventually, but after hearing some police sirens, they haul up inside only to find themselves stalked by the same black dog and get slaughtered by an unseen force.

As another morning comes, four teens from tha hood inspect the same Gothic building to plan out their rave haven. The townies, though, are not too happy about this, especially since the place happens to have some history with one Jimmy Bones, a respected and loved neighborhood protector who died some years ago after a series of betrayals. But as usual, these kids thought none of this and soon awakens the spirit of Bones, rising from the grave (Ala Freddy Krueger in Dream Master) to kill off those who were responsible for this death and those who messed up his crib! Big time!

First, I can tell Bones has its setbacks when it comes to pacing as an hour of its running time focuses more on the Bones' character as a beloved neighborhood figure, how he ended up dead and how his presence haunts those who are either near his final resting place or in it. It's no more than a ghost story with a haunted house scares then and there, but after a creepy-crawlin' rave scene (which took a dive of tribute to the maggot scene from the classic Suspiria), we finally get to see Bones in full action and me loving it in every minute.

Dogg managed to create an air of empathy and slick with his character as he makes his way cutting off his victims' heads and spatting grooved versions of Freddy's wise cracks, befitting the movie's sudden change of tone from Gothic horror to something of a cheap yet well-handled campy supernatural slasher. This said, the horror elements of the movie have its shiftiness, and so are some of its special effects since part of the onscreen gore were done with some sleek practical effects, while the more ghostly scenes resort to CG which is good, if not awfully funny looking at times. (Keep an eye to the "Dogg" pun. You'll know it when you see it) I'll admit that the tone shifts can be distracting for some, even regrettable, but Bones is a horror film made to entertain and so long as it keeps us glued to to the screen, I say it did a good job.

It may lack the big production look, but Bones really tried its best to bring out the goods from the hood, for both horror fans and too some for the old fashioned Blaxploitation junkies. An underrated gem with a darkened soul that will do good for you good casual horror fans, Ya dig?

1 male slaughtered, blood splash seen
1 male slaughtered offscreen
1 male shot, stabbed to death with switchblade (flashback)
1 male mauled to death by dog
1 male had his throat cut with switchblade
1 male had his throat cut with switchblade, slaughtered
1 male slaughtered, mostly offscreen
1 female found murdered
1 male impaled by flying shards, decapitated with switchblade
1 male impaled on a hook and gutted with switchblade
1 male ravaged by damned souls
1 male slaughtered by damned souls
1 female burned to death
Total: 13

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Death Wears A Monk Suit: Phantom Killer (1981)

Phantom Killer (Fen Ku Lou) (Hong Kong, 1981)
Rating: ***
Starring:  Pai Wei, Nora Tsang and Shaw Yin Yin

((A Kung-Fu slasher?! Thank you, A Slash Above-sensei! HAI-YA!))

For defeating a group of terrorizing bandits many moons ago, a martial arts master named Siu became a local period town's favorite visitor, with many young town women smitten by him whenever he drifts by. However, what should have been another casual return to town for him one day, he learns that the women he rejected through out the years are now being attacked and killed off by a skull-headed monk known as The Phantom Killer. Though he suspected, Siu agrees to join a local detective in search of the perpetrator, who may or may not be an estranged potter, a bandit leader seen skulking around, or perhaps a jealous lover from before...

How can I describe this movie? As directly as possible, it's a slasher film with lots of high-kicking action and choreography, mixing the usual bodycounter plot of a vengeful killer loose slaughtering female victims with that of kung-fu action and a murder mystery angle. Not bad of a hybrid if you ask me, but those who're into straight slashers might feel a little disappointed as majority of the play leans more to the fights than the actual killings. True, we have a masked killer and a very fair bodycount, but most of time we'll be watching an old man do flying kicks and dodges against a killer who apparently knows martial arts, too. A trait that predates flying-kicking slashers like that gasmask killer in Sweden's Insane (2010) or even that of the obscure junk Junior (2002) (AKA "Engine Trouble").

What's good about Phantom Killer is that, despite trying its best to keep a straight face, it does take turns dipping into some cheese through some funny dialogue and kooky characters popping up as either red herrings or possible murder suspects. No character is boring and the movie paces itself quite nicely to a twist reveal that's awfully good.  Though some of the choreography can be a bit off, the fight scenes are still passable and fun to watch, this is coming from a guy who hardly watches Martial Arts movies!

My only complain about Phantom Killer is its lighting; some of the scenes that took place at night are so badly lit, hardly anything or nothing at all can be seen which is a pain since some of the fights and kills occurred during these and I had to rewind the movie over and over just to make sure I understood what happened. The love angle of the movie is also hammed to an awful sense; not saying it isn't funny, but rather it hardly works at all with the killings and investigations going on. (The film also stole the Phantasm (1979) theme and plays it whenever Siu's around for some reason. Ticks me off at one side since I'm a huge Phantasm fan, and chuckled on another since it kinda fits the situation.)

As a fun B-flick, it hits the mark just right. It's cheesy as the yellow moon and as out-of-the-wall as the ones they kicked open in the movie, Phantom Killer (1981) may not be the straightest to the slasher build-up, but as hybrid, you could certainly give this one a try!

1 female found with puncture wounds on her neck
1 female gets a clay claw stabbed to her chest
1 male stabbed with dagger
1 male stabbed with dagger
1 male stabbed with dagger
1 male stabbed with dagger
1 male had his face clawed
1 female ingests poison
1 male hanged
1 male killed offscreen
1 male gets a dagger to the gut
1 female found dead
1 male smashed through a wall
1 female gets a dagger to the gut
Total: 14
What is this I don't even...

Monday, August 27, 2012

Technically, it IS human: The Prey (1980)

The Prey (1980)
Rating: **
Starring: Debbie Thureson, Steve Bond and Lori Lethin

The Prey is a misunderstood, if not mishandled title for very understandable reasons. I like to start first with it's story, if there is one; inviting us with an opening theme that kinda sounds like the ones from the latter Friday the 13th movies, we a forest fire with random folks screaming in the background. Next comes our opening act that has us watching two middle-aged folks eating chow by a campfire, wherein they compliment each other by nodding. Nodding. For 4 to 5 minutes. Thankfully, the wife decided to break the awkward silence and take a walk, leaving hubby to do some wood chopping. Oh, did I mentioned someone's eyeing on these two? Well, no need, here he comes to decapitate hubby and hack to death wifey. Cheesy opening? So far so good.

Next we have a group of teens going to the woods later that morning, with us spending the next hour or so following their "adventures" which mostly involve inter-cutting between them walking and talking to footages of random wildlife. And we're treated to this pattern so surreal that it goes on and on for the remainder of our time before the hour mark, so the least these kids can do is to suggest something unexpecte-

Oh crap ,they're doing campfire tales.

The group eventually decides to sleep off for the night and when I mean sleep, I meant have sex. (Save one couple, guess the gal wasn't ready) And as always, right on cue, one of the fornicating teens hear a noise in the woods and her boyfriend steps out to investigate. Next thing we know, girl gets smothered with a sleeping bag and boy gets his throat ripped off. I think I'm starting to see the good side of this title.

So one couple less, the group ponders whether to go back and call the sheriff about their missing friends or go ahead and continue their venture into the untamed woods. As you've guessed from these dumb teens, they choose the latter, so can we blame them when the mofugly loonie finally got around to kill these kids one by one? Perhaps.

As you can see, The Prey had done some pretty oblivious direction and plotting, mainly padding the movie with fillers from a banjo piece played by our local park ranger, to said park ranger "reacting" to a dead girl for five minutes. Heck, its fillers might as well be this movie's only memorable trait compared to its very lackluster main plot! I mean, how often did we already have teens camping in the woods for no specific reason? Like, ten a year? And how often have we see them end up in a situation like this? Perhaps I should try to enjoy it as a no-brainer kill flick, right? Maybe. But for some god forsaken reason, I can't. Just can't. I guess lack of plot can sometimes be a bad thing for me.

Perhaps it's the pointless story, or the lame ending, or the obvious human killer that the tagline tries to hide, or even the movie's painstaking pacing that restrains me from giving The Prey it any higher rating, but know this, there is something I could applaud for from this movie and that's the kills. Not exactly very gory, but they're as fun as they are casual. The movie itself can thank these kills for that rating up there, even after all them drawbacks.

Casual backwoods slasher fans can actually find a good stroll in this title, at least in some bits. For the rest, I think you can do better with your slasher.

1 male decapitated with axe
1 female hacked to death with axe
1 female smothered with sleeping bag
1 male had his throat ripped open
1 male had his head twisted
1 male falls to his death after climbing rope was cut
1 female had her face slammed against a tree
1 male neck crushed
Total: 8

Cheap masks and Buzzsaw backs: Savage Weekend (1979)

Savage Weekend  (1979) (AKA Killer Behind the Mask, The Upstate Murders)
Rating: ***
Starring:  Christopher Allport, Jim Doerr and David Gale

Can't say where to begin with this one. Too awfully normal to be special and hardly anything to rock my socks off. Guess I'm gonna go plain with this title and go along to what it's offering me.

It starts with a lone woman running for dear life in the woods, the buzzing of a chainsaw following along the booted feet of her stalker. An open space in the middle of the forest then gets her exposed to a grinning backwoods fella, saw at hand.

Which leads us to go back a few days earlier, into an apartment where said woman, a stock broker named Marie (Marilyn Hamlin), packs up for the weekend with her sister and friends at a little house in the woods. Now, things aren't easy for Marie in these days; not only was her husband recently released from a mental asylum, but he seems to loathe her. Of course, Marie's sexual fantasies for her hubby could say she still got a thing or two left for him, but when she starts lusting over her fellow stockbroker friend, as well as a local handyman (which was the same local in the opening), things are bound to go out of control and boy, did it ever.

Soon, a killer in a cheap Halloween mask starts to stalk the group and thin down their numbers through an assortment of weapons. Who could it be? The estranged husband fresh from the loonie bin? The stockholder who invited them to the most secluded stay of the woods? Or the notorious redneck local who's known to had branded his own wife? As it soon builds up to the opening act again, you think you know the story.

Think again...

Made sometime earlier in the 70s, Savage Weekend (1979) is actually one of the fine example of slasher titles that predates itself. The last act of the film is where most of the hack'n slash elements kick in, from the stylish kills and the stereotyped victims (at least, 70s stereotypes), to the masked killer with powertools for toys, delivering us that familiar backwoods plot that have done more than it should to prove itself as a worthwhile slasher movie. But until then, the majority of Savage Weekend (1979) was on fleshing out its casts and premise, though the job is very uneven as some of the characters lacks any real interesting points to them despite starting out otherwise.

It's not that the casts done an awful job in the acting department, just that some of the roles weren't really fleshed out that well. Instead, we spent most of its first act observing the sexual frustrations of a married woman, her fetish and fantasies somehow held back by her work and family life, something that eventually coming in as relevant as does have something to do with the movie's twist reveal.

I see little duds from this movie, mainly from it's cheap-looking productions, but the film tries its best to do something different. Worth a watch if you can find it, even keep it should it fancies you. Overall, Savage Weekend is a passable slasher film with dramatics and I can't describe it any better than that.

1 bat found nailed to the door
1 male strangled with rope and hanged
1 male gets a hairpin to the ear
1 female buzzsaw to the back of her head
1 male hacked with hook, thrown through window
1 male chainsawed to the back
total: 6

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Reincarnated and Redefined: Eternal Evil (1985)

Eternal Evil (Canada, 1985) (AKA "The Blue Man")
Rating: **1/2
Starring:  Winston Rekert, Karen Black and John Novak

When a burned-out TV commercial director learns how to control out-of-body experiences ala Astral Projection from a mysterious dancer, he soon finds out that this power is starting to get out of hand when those that go against him start to die off every time he goes to sleep.

A detective tries to put the pieces together, which includes reviewing a case concerning an elderly couple who claim to have successfully remove their souls from their mortal coil from time to time to experience the Astral plane. But as more dead bodies begin to pile up, all killed in similar fashion, it's only a matter of time before the inexplicable truth comes at hand.

Which put me in place to review this movie made by the director of  My Bloody Valentine (1981), George Mihalka. It's not often we get to see a slasher flick tackling a subject as spiritually wide as Astral projection and, truth be told, I never am that knowledgeable about out-of-body experiences nor does it interests me so grasping this movie's plot of a killer roaming around in the astral plane with the ability to mutilate its victims from the inside took a while to sink in.

Most of its time, Eternal Evil is more of a thriller than a slasher, where the focus is mainly on the investigation surrounding the murders, as well as the notions of metaphysical planar worlds. It's pretty bloodless and the movie's slow-moving build-up sometimes gets to you, but by the time the twist reveal's given away, the movie finally gets to its feet, for at least ten to fifteen minutes away from the ending.

I guess the main problem I have with this movie is that I never felt the dread nor the tension surrounding the mystery. Its there, the idea of something evil that can't be seen but can be sensed does call for some chills and some dash of spills, but I just find to too far-fetched and fantastic to be taken seriously, thus it never going hand-in-hand with the movie's serious tone and direction.

Eternal Evil, however, still a worthwhile viewing if you like your bodycounter a tad more unique than the usual psycho with a knife. Pacing aside, the story does have something to make for itself, in a B-movie sense that is.

1 male mutilated from the inside
1 male mutilated from the inside
1 female mutilated from the inside
1 male killed, method not seen
1 female shot on the gut with shotgun
1 female shot
Total: 6

Friday, August 24, 2012

Back in Time: The House of Clocks (1989)

The House of Clocks (La casa nel tempo) (Italy, 1989)
rating: **
starring: Keith Van Hoven, Karina Huff and Paolo Paoloni

Honestly, seeing Fulci made this, I was expecting a lot. Gore, grue, mutilations, all of these crimson treats wanders through my head as I took home a copy of this, regarded as one of Fulci's finest later works. What was shown to me, other than the gore, was a lot more unexpected to what I usually get from the Godfather of Italian gore.

The House of Clocks is about a trio of hoodlums who decide to go and rob an wealthy elderly couple that lives out in a huge country side mansion filled with clocks. Once arriving there, and killing off the occupants, they soon find themselves terrorized by the ghoulish remains of their victims

One thing I could admire about The House of Clocks would be the fact that it's gory for a TV movie. Early on, we see a poor lady gets her groin impaled with a large pike, and what soon follows didn't loose the streak either. From brutal gunnings (of elders of all people!), to hands being stabbed by bladed bracelets, the movie certainly had Fulci's signature bloodletting written all over it. Aside from the visceral mayhem, The House of Clocks also built itself some working atmosphere. Plenty a shot of the house's inner structures, rooms and, yes, the clocks helped built the movie's eerie, dreadful and unsettling aura, though not as lavishing as one would find it.

Plus it's a home invasion movie. I always dig home invasion movies.

It was all going fine around the first half, where a home invasion played out, but by the time the plot of the movie finally takes action, this is where the story goes downhill for me. The movie is about a house that goes back in time. Now, what I was kinda expecting was that the house would rewind the events and had the two elderly victims get the upperhand but instead, it only did half of that. True, the victims got back and starts torturing the heck out of their killers, but the problem was I never felt any connection to the victims, from both sides. They spent the next last act either trying to survive the night against homicidal ghosts or try to kill the other after mindfucking with them. Did these characters really developed? Not really, and I don't give a shit at all anymore. What's worse is the script; it's one of those absurd excuses of a sentences that these casts tries to spat out. These scripting often calls for bad cheese, but this sticks out a lot if it doesn't fit the actual tone of the movie.

In the end, The House of Clocks just lacked on the proper department. Not only was the plot weakly executed (the non-gore effects are just awful), but It's lost itself at the near end, giving us no explanation to what force is doing all this and why? Frustrating as it is, I rather had it end than try to make some sense out of all that has happened. I don't want to speak ill of one of my admired directors, but, seriously? How much thought was put into this before they even talked about budget?

1 female corpse seen with a nail driven to her neck
1 male corpse seen with a nail driven to his neck
1 female pike to the groin
1 male brained against a table
1 elderly female shotgunned to the gut
1 elderly male shotgunned to the back
1 male shot with shotgun, later brained with hammer
1 male impaled with a pike
1 male shot with shotgun
1 elderly male spiked candle holder to the gut
1 elderly female strangled with cloth
2 males and 1 female crashes off a cliff
total: 14