Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Body Snatchers (1993)

In another body snatching remake, a teenage girl notices strange things happening once her family moves onto an army base while her father makes sure the base follows EPA requirements. There's nothing new in this film, other than lots of teen angst and hunky army pilots. The characters are given a brief introduction and when they die, you really don't care. There is some female nudity which might intrigue teenage boys. The absorption of the human body and the screech of the aliens is creepy. Other than that, there's not much here.

The Adventures of Young Van Helsing (2004)

Michael Harris is a descendant of the infamous vampire hunter, Van Helsing. Yet Michael doesn't know it because his last name has been changed to protect him from the evil that might try to harm him.

Michael is your typical teen - exceedingly awkward, has a crush on a popular girl, and is the lead singer of a yet to be named generic radio friendly rock band. His rival for the girl's affection is brutish Karl, a football player and bully, who beats up Michael before going to his early admission college chemistry class. Karl is an odd looking chap who looks like he's about thirty. It's kind of creepy.

Meanwhile a doltish professor on an archaeology dig revives a creature who searches for Van Helsing's missing scepter and his heir, Michael. The creature manages to find him easily enough, speaks in subtitles, and has huge fake teeth which make him look less spooky and more stupid. The one cool thing is that he also has red eyes.

The props in the movie are far too cheap for something with this type of budget. They look like wood that has been badly spray painted gold.

There are continuity errors in the car chase scene near the end of the movie. When the interior of the car is shown, it is night. Yet when they show the car racing along the road, it is daytime.

The movie has way too much of the band, which Michael ends up naming The Van Helsings. We are then forced to watch them play at the high school in dance in long scene with no real point, other than to promote the generic rock song being played. And the bass player is the worst at faking playing the bass.

There are flashbacks to the original Van Helsing in 1905. He is always out of breath, in a community theater way, and he has a young Hindi sidekick. Unfortunately the sidekick is played by an obviously caucasian child with greasepaint and a turban slapped on his lily white cranium. Very sad, indeed.

This is the type of film that give kid/teen movies a bad name. It's poorly written and doesn't engage the imagination. Scarily enough, it sets itself up for a sequel involving a werewolf.

Larva (2005)

The new vet comes to town and discovers a mystery parasite inhabiting some local cows. Host Tender Meats are testing their scientifically altered genetic feed in town as they wish to increase their profits - and who doesn't. As everyone knows the best place to test questionable new feed is in a cattle town where townsfolk eat their burgers rare.

The Doc figures out there is a parasite problem, but the Ceo of Host Tender Meats doesn't like the Doc's new fangled ideas on food safety. At a town meeting he claims the Doc is a trouble maker who doesn't realize that actually doing something about the life threatening parasite will mean ruining the town's tourism and industry. In other words, the town will lose money.

Jacob, the only cattleman in town who believes the truth, and the Doc find a large beastie running through the rafters of Jacob's barn. The parasites are growing, mutating, evolving, and that's not good. Neither is Doc's method of investigation as he touches the mystery parasite with his bare hands. Geez....

The creepiest things about the movie are the parasite evolves into something that looks like a child size piece of spinach with a spine, and David Selby plays the evil old Ceo of Host Tender Meats.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Tripper (2006)

I wasn't expecting much from this movie, but I liked it. A group of hippies and their non-drug taking friend (always a bad combination) head off into the woods to go to a music festival. Unfortunately they've picked the one festival with an insane killer in the woods who wears a Ronald Reagan mask and does a bad Reagan imitation. The movie is book ended by some heavy handed political stuff, which will make you comatose. There is also a scene with male frontal nudity.

The Mad (2007)

Billy Zane plays the epitome of deadpan dads by turning in his best Steven Seagal imitation. A family stops in a small town to attend a fair and decides to stay overnight. This turns out to be very unfortunate since the special that night is tainted organic beef from the local farms.

Those who consume the tainted burgers turn into toothpaste drooling zombies in less than an hour. I'm neutral on this movie because there are a few pretty funny things, but the comedy isn't that great and the horror isn't that scary.

However, I will give it some credit as I can't think of any other movie in which a meat pattie disappears on it's own and later takes a bite out of a human. Yup it's the only film I can thin of which features killer meat.

Fido (2006)

When the head of Zomcon moves into the neighborhood, the Robinson's get their own zombie. After the great zombie war, all zombies were relegated to the wild, which is separated from living areas by a chain link fence. But with Zomcon's zombie collar to control their killing ways, zombies have become servants to the Leave It to Beaver world.

Little Timmy Robinson, child outcast, names his family's zombie Fido and makes it his pet. During an outing in the park, Fido eats a busy body neighbor, which causes panic and a zombie outbreak within the confines of society.

An amusing look at the 1950s with zombies, with a sub plot about romantic relationships between zombies and humans. Billy Connolly does a nice job as Fido.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Wolfen (1981)

When a rich couple are killed, Detective Dewey Wilson is assigned to the case. Wilson's investigation takes him in directions he hadn't anticipated as it begins to appear as if the killings were made by some sort of animal. If only it were Bigfoot....

I expected a typical werewolf movie, but this delves into suspense and the supernatural more than straight horror. Albert Finney is excellent as Dewey Wilson and James Edward Olmos delivers a great performance as Eddie.

The cinematography is very nice. Shot in the South Bronx while it was full of abandoned buildings and piles of rubble , the modern ruins are both horrifying and beautiful. The crumbling church is amazing.