Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Endured by: Patrick

Plotline: Neil (played by Martin Kove, known mostly for playing the "Bad Karate Teacher" in the three Karate Kids movies) and his wife Sherry arrive at some part of Greece (whatever part where the Greek men are actually Puerto Rican born Jose Ferrer) to search for his sister. Why? Hell if I know. Anyways, they find her in the alternating company of an Othello quotin', post-Star Wars, *James Earl Jones* and among a group of Nuns, where she is apparently in charge of restoring a painting of St. Michael. Somewhere in this mess, Mr. Jones, looking for what, I'm not sure, releases a ancient sea monster from a nearby underground cave. Needless to say, it starts eating people and the Americans are (rightfully so) blamed.

Scariness factor: I have to give 'Bloodtide' a smidge of credit for really trying to be scary. One scene, in particular, involving Madeline's (Neil's sister) discovery of a secret, ancient painting behind another ancient painting, reeks, atmospherically, of later Exorcist movies. Of course, the whole mood is ruined when the painting turns out to be of a virgin about to give a good olde BJ to some well-endowed Demon-like thing.

Originality: Let me just lay it out: this movie is bad. If it hasn't been done before or since, there's a reason. Many of the sea scenes were reminiscent of 'Jaws' though.

Complaints: Almost too numerous to mention. The fact that Frye (James Earl Jones) seemed to quote Othello in place of actual dialog which would make sense in the context of the conversation, the incongruous brother-sister make out scene near the end, cats being mysteriously tossed into the air and mostly that, though this film is highly sexualized, featuring alot of skimpy bikinis and wet t-shirts, there's like only 0.0000001 seconds of actually boobage. There is alot of man-nipple though (it seems Neil cannot bear to put on a shirt, ever).

High Points: For the brief seconds that you actually see it, the monster does look kind of cool, like a cross between a dragon and a human. James Earl Jones' incessant hamminess is also amusing to watch, at the very least. You also get to see a painting of demon wee-wee, which should amuse the 12 year old in all of us.

Overall: Unless you have some obsession with sea monster movies which lead you to pick up all the Jaws sequels, there's very few things in this movie that will attract you.

Grade: D

Additional Information: When I did a Google Images search, to find the movie poster for this film, for some reason, the search "Bloodtide" pulled up the following image. I, personally, like it way better than the movie, itself. Enjoy!


Monday, June 13, 2005

Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: Ginger and Brigitte are suddenly back in the 19th century, racing around the woods, avoiding wolves (and trying to avoid traps). Soon they find themselves sequestered into a strange trader's fort that is trying to fend off wolfmen that loom outside their walls. Ginger gets bit by a child-werewolf and is slowly transforming. Both her and Brigitte keep getting visions of their 20th century lives as well. The sisters must fend off the creepy 19th century traders on the inside of the fort as well as the creepy wolf-creatures from the outside of the fort.

Scariness factor: This was the weakest of the three Ginger Snaps movies and was more boring and leisurely than scary.

Originality: Basically, it seemed that they couldn't figure out where to go from AFTER the second sequel, so they decided to do a prequel that is basically the original movie but set in the 19th century.

Complaints: What the hell did this movie have anything to do with anything?!? I thought at some point we would see how this related to the Brigitte and Ginger of the 20th century, but this never occurred. The girls were instead plunked into the 19th century with the same personalities and the same werewolfish quandary, and this fact was NEVER EXPLAINED or connected to the 20th century girls (there SEEMED to be a few attempts where they see visions of their 20th century-selves, but this never goes anywhere).

High Points: Their weren't really any this time, other than the fact that the two main characters are thankfully cute and pleasing to the eye (and as B-movies go, these are of much higher quality than typical B-movies), so I am always willing to suffer through this series without TOO much complaint.

Overall: This was a pale shadow of the original, and a dimmer shadow of the 2nd in the series. It really didn't link into the other two in any sort of coherent way--as a prequel, it didn't really make me go "Ah, now I see how all the events of the first Ginger Snaps came to play out the way they did," and to me, that's sorta what a prequel is supposed to do. The pacing was sluggish at best, there were not ANY scary moments, and it was completely sucked dry of all the interesting feminist and fairy-tailish themes of the original. Definitely not worth checking out, unless you're lame like me and dedicated to seeing all of the Ginger Snaps series, in which case, carry on.

Grade: D+


Thursday, June 02, 2005

Bela Lugosi

--Commentary by Patrick

It's time for y'all to get schooled on the later career of horror legend Bela Lugosi.

Just a few reviews ago, I panned the horrible film The Corpse Vanishes. If you look in the upper left hand corner of that poster, you'll see the name "Monogram Pictures". This studio is responsible for churning out most of the crap that made up the worst days of Bela's career. Thankfully, one of my favorite webzines, Horror-Wood, has taken on Monogram Studios with a two-part look at Bela during this time period. I'd suggest everyone check it out:

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Dementia 13

--Reviewed by Patrick

Plotline: Dementia 13 is really like two-movies-in-one. The first part deals with the accidental death of John Haloran and his wife's attempt to cover it up and influence his very rich mother to changing her will (she'd planned on giving her fortune to charity, silly woman). Then, halfway through, it abruptly and savagely shifts gears into a tale of insanity and a mysterious axe murderer within the Haloran clan, all centering around their dead sibling, Kathleen.

Scariness factor: For once, there are some honestly creepy moments, most of them accomplished not through physical acts, but effective uses of lighting and music. Speaking of, did I mention that this film was directed by a very young (he was only 24, at the time) Francis Ford Coppola, along with the help of horror guru Roger Corman? One scene in particular takes something as simple as a toy monkey hitting a drum and, with blasts of orchestration and dramatic lightening, turns it into something quite sinister.

Originality: Horror Wood.Com has mentioned it as being the predecessor the slasher flicks that became so prevalent in the 80's and I completely agree. In this film, you can especially see elements of what would become 'Friday the 13th'. But, that was years after. As it stands, for it's time period, it was truly original, despite the fact it was filmed using sets and actors from a previously completely Corman film.

Complaints: First up, Dr. Caleb (the family doctor) annoyed the hell out of me. Though most of the actors put in, if not stellar, adequate performances, he truly seems to be more from the Corman camp than the Coppola. He's over-the-top and so hammy you'll smell bacon whenever he comes on screen. Truly, his presence drags down every scene he's in. Then there's the whole matter of the dead bodies. At one point, the family drains the pool around their estate (which, by then, should be housing about 3 corpses), yet there's no mention of any of them. In fact, there's many such plot holes in the film. For example, the mother of Kathleen (the dead sister), whose insanity plays a huge role in the film, just disappears about 3/4 of the way through, to never appear again. Then the fact that, it seems, once someone dies, they are inquired about once and then never mentioned again, through the whole of the film.

Other High Points: Luana Anders, who plays Louise, the conniving wife of John Haloran, puts in a surprisingly good performance. Maybe she was just a cold bitter b*tch in real life, who knows, but she plays one absolutely perfectly. The movie also really gives impact to the death scenes. In most horror films, you can see the murderer coming a mile away. Either that, or the violence is so constant that you become desensitized to it, as the film goes on. But, in Dementia 13, the murder scenes are so stark and ferocious, you find yourself gasping for breath afterwards.

Overall: Major plot holes aside, Dementia 13 is an enjoyable film filled with enough action to keep most anyone interested. It's also a great chance to catch the early work of Francis Coppola. Also, as a bit of trivia (and quirky retro kitsch), apparent some versions of the film have a prologue in which a psychiatrist would give the audience a test to see if they were stable enough to withstand viewing this film. Unfortunately, my version lacks this interesting sounding scene.

Grade: B+