Friday, November 27, 2009

Invaders From Mars (1986)

David Gardner sees a UFO land over the hill in his backyard. He urges his father to check it out but the next day Dad is acting strange. Soon other in town are acting weird and David figures out it has something to do with the UFO.

He manages to convince the kindly school nurse that there is something going on, although she's not quite sure how much to believe. He also figures out that all the people who are not themselves anymore have a bandage on the back of their necks. Both David and the nurse end up at the military base where they try to get the General that there are aliens taking over the town.

The space ship under the ground is really cool looking. The monsters aren't scary but they are interesting looking. The film is entertaining but might have been better if the David were a more experienced actor. Sometimes he manages to nail it, but more often than not he isn't believable and has a Little Rascals feel to his reading of the lines.

Black Hole (2006)

A scientific experiment goes wrong, creating a black hole in the basement utility corridor of a military building. While you'd think that would be the worst of their problems, an alien has come through the hole and is sucking up energy which it uses to kill.

The energy creature follows the electrical lines to a power station where it starts eating up energy. As St. Louis is being destroyed, scientists come up with the theory that the black hole can only be closed by sending the energy creature back through it.

David Selby of Dark Shadows fame is in this one, but he falls victim to the lackluster writing as do the others. The focus was on the energy monster with the black hole being more of an after thought.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dead Above Ground (2002)

Jeff Lucas, an unpopular Goth kid, is laughed out of his film class when he premiers his badly made horror movie rather than the documentary he was supposed to make. He's such a rebel that he is dragged out of class by the football coach and sent to the school psychologist.

The psychiatrist is concerned because she can't contact his parents. But not too concerned since psycho Jeff shows up later at his teachers pool party wearing a druid's robe and she doesn't blink an eye. A confrontation at the party leads to a car chase where the Goth kid's brakes fail, his car flies off a cliff and bursts into flames. Everyone blames the high school quarterback for driving him off the road.

A year later a new kid moves into Jeff's old house and starts having nightmares about him. He and Jeff's goth chick friend ask the popular kids to come to a seance at the house to try to communicate and bring Jeff back. They do it, which makes no sense since they all hated Jeff. Why would they want to bring him back? They don't like him and don't know the new kid.

When the killings start, the kids are afraid it's Jeff's ghost, but the local detective and some of the people in town blame the ex-quarterback. The goth chick tells one girl that if she can get Jeff's horror movie into the Sundance film festival, Jeff's spirit will spare her life. Seriously? Are you kidding me? How can that be part of the plot? It's so stupid.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Tequila Body Shots (1999)

Johnny and his friends get an invitation to a party in Mexico from a man they don't know. Apparently it's going to be the party of the year, so they jump in the car and head to Mexico. Johnny's love interest and her friends have also received an invitation to this mysterious party, to which they respond by clapping their hands with glee and heading into a foreign country to party with a stranger. In other words, these people are idiots.

Once in Mexico, a local doctor gives Johnny a potion that lets him read women's minds and his love interest discovers that in a previous life she was married to a man named Hector who has thrown this party so he can take her to the land of the dead.

The characters are stupid and the movie puts forth the plot point that a Tequila body shot can bring someone back from the dead. Eeek!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Star Trek (2009)

When I was growing up I was a big fan of the original Star Trek, and have never been able to watch any of the later series as they don't hold the same charm. So I had no interest in seeing this. However it was the movie that showed up for the night, so I resigned myself to sit through it.

Surprisingly I enjoyed it. There were awkward moments when they deviated from events that I knew occurred in the original series. But the writers came up with an annoying little plot twist where the Romulans have traveled back in time and this event changes the future as we know it. Sort of clever, sort of lame, it all adds up to giving the writers free reign in where they want to take the characters.

The actors pay homage to the original characters by following the basic personalities. McCoy was my favorite but Checkov was super annoying. And I was not the only one watching who found the shape of Kirk's head disturbing. I can't pinpoint it, but there's something odd about it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hallow's End (2003)

Very low budget movie about college students who put on a haunted house in an old warehouse. An old guy shows up and gives them an ancient book of spells that turns out to be evil. When a spell is cast, the costumes of the performers dictate what they become, and zombies, vampires, and pirates start roaming the hallways and looking to kill.

This is not a good movie by any means., but it's not the worst thing I've ever seen either.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday the 13th, Part 6: Jason Lives (1986)

Tommy Jarvis is haunted by childhood memories of Jason and Camp Crystal Lake. Tommy's obsession leads him to dig up Jason to prove that he's dead. Upon seeing the corpse, Tommy repeatedly stabs Jason with an iron fence post, which proves to be a perfect lightning rod and a convenient way to bring Jason back to life.

With Jason back from the dead and ready to kill, Tommy runs to the Sheriff for help in stopping the inhuman killing machine. Of course, no one believes him and the body count increases.

Not the worst sequel and not the best, the movie features songs by Alice Cooper, including the giggle inducing Hard Rock Summer and the theme song which states Jason is out of control and will steal your soul. Uhhhh, no... No on both counts as the man is very methodical and controlled in his killings, and has no interest in your soul.

Child's Play 2 (1990)

Chucky, the doll with the soul of a serial killer residing inside, is back after his burned little carcass is scraped of soot and refurbished in an experiment gone wrong. After killing a few toy company employees, Chucky sets off in search of Andy, the poor kid he tormented in the first movie.
Alex is in foster care living with a rebellious teenage girl and two well meaning adults who aren't the best foster parents you could find. Even though they know Andy had a tragedy involving a doll, they still have one in the house which freaks the poor kid out. The doll provides an easy plot device for Chucky to assume the doll's place and go after Andy.

The doll factory is the cleanest factory you'll ever see. The eye inserting machine broadcasts it's intent even before the careless technician decides the only way to fix it is to lie directly under it. Ouch!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Paranormal Activity (2009)

The trailer for this movie is very effective. With the spooky soundtrack and the footage of something unseen moving the covers, it looked so scary that I did not want to see it. But reviews I've seen are so polarized - it's either unbelievably scary or not scary at all.

What I liked about the film was that they chose to use the viewers own imagination rather than special effects and cgi monsters. More filmmakers could use the lesson that what we don't see is often scarier than what we do see. Also they stuck to the concept that this was home movie footage shot by this couple and did not add spooky music to influence the mood.

Now what I didn't like was that it is exactly like watching a friends home movies. It's boring, pointless and only interesting to the person who shot it. Plus Micah is a dick. He's more interested in documenting what is going on than in making sure his girlfriend is okay. He comes off as insensitive, uncaring, and having no respect for his girlfriend's feelings, especially in regards as to how to deal with the supernatural force that is tormenting her.

I saw this on dvd, not in the theater, and the movie had an alternate ending. Afterwards there was video footage from a theater which showed the theatrical release ending. All I can say is that they were smart not to have the alternate ending. Even though it is almost the same, it is so unbelievably lame. It's a cliche which you can't believe is happening.

To sum up, none of us were scared, but I think if seen in a dark theater it would be creepy. But mostly it's like watching someone's boring home movies where you keep praying for something to happen.