Archive for May, 2012

Giallo (2009)

Directed By: Dario Argento

Starring: Adrien Brody, Emmanuelle Seigner, Robert Miano, Elsa Pataky

Subgenre: Thriller, Serial Killer

Giallo

Synopsis: Detective Avolfi tracks down a serial killer, known only as Giallo.

Thoughts: Giallo’s path to North America has been a rough one.  The release was tied up in court as star Adrien Brody challenged that he was not paid for his role in the movie.  To top that off, Dario Argento has publicly stated that he dislikes the final cut.  Despite this, I was eager to sit down and watch Giallo.

I was hoping for a throwback to Argento’s glory days, when he gave us some of the greatest Giallo’s out there.  I was a bit shocked to discover that this isn’t a Giallo.  The killer is known as Giallo (Italian for yellow), because of a severe case of jaundice which causes his skin to turn yellow.  It plays like a pretty standard serial killer movie.

The acting is pretty decent, with Adrien Brody playing both the detective and the killer, under a heavy dose of makeup.  Brody tends to be pretty hit or miss for me, and this isn’t one of his strongest roles, but he gets the job done.  I thought his turn as the killer was better than his work as the detective.  He was generally creepy with all that makeup on.

I mentioned that Dario Argento was not happy with the final cut, but even with that in mind,  Giallo is a far cry from his best work. His work on Masters of Horror impressed me, and I was really hoping he was returning to form, but between Mother of Tears and this, it appears he is not.  I’m not looking forward to his latest project, Dracula 3D, either.  It seems as if Giallo has Argento’s typical violent deaths, but lacks the sense of style that movies like Suspiria and Opera showcased.

I’m sure most Argento fans have checked this out, or will, but it is difficult to recommend.  There isn’t anything special going on here, which is too bad.  Bringing together Dario Argento and an A-list actor should have netter better results, but Giallo is decidedly mediocre.  It’s not horrible, but it’s not great either.

Slumber Party Massacre (1982)

Posted: May 27, 2012 in Movie Review
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Slumber Party Massacre (1982)

Directed By: Amy Holden Jones

Starring: Michelle Michaels, Michael Villella, Rigg Kennedy, Brinke Stevens, Robin Stille, Pamela Roylance, Jennifer Meyers

Subgenre: Slasher

Slumber Party Massacre

Synopsis: A slumber party goes awry when an escaped killer shows up with his power drill.

Thoughts: Slashers come in all shapes and sizes, some serious in nature, some injected with comedy.  Slumber Party Massacre is a bit of both.  It was written as a parody of the genre by noted feminist Rita Mae Brown, but the producers decided to shoot the movie in a more serious tone, resulting in a movie that isn’t sure if it should take itself seriously or not.

It doesn’t take long for the movie to move right into the massacre portion as there is very little character building.  We don’t know much about the killer other than he is an escaped convict with a bit of an inferiority complex when it comes to power tools.  The first time I watched this, I actually thought I missed a scene where they explained why the killer was stalking the girls.  Turns out that he is just out to kill whoever gets in his way.

Everything about Slumber Party Massacre screams B movie, which isn’t a bad thing, and is something that is common in this genre.  The acting is what you would expect, and there really are not any notable players or performances, but there are the stereotypical roles including the patented final girl.  The script is incredibly straightforward, forgoing the common twist or reveal at the end for standard stalk and slash action.

The giant power drill that the killer uses teeters between being insanely awesome and completely ridiculous.  Those things are not the most nimble of power tools, so the fact that he swings it around and uses it to chase down victims is a little ridiculous. 

Slumber Party Massacre isn’t a great slasher, and I would put it behind most second tier slashers such as The Burning or My Bloody Valentine, but it is worth checking out for slasher fans. 

Carnosaur (1993)

Directed By: Adam Simon

Starring: Dianne Ladd, Raphael Sbarge, Jennifer Runyon, Clint Howard, Ned Bellamy, Harrison Page

Subgenre: Creature Feature, Sci-Fi

Carnosaur

Synopsis: A mad scientist plans to recreate Dinosaurs in a lab and destroy humanity.

Thoughts: Carnosaur is a precursor to the low budget Sci Fi originals that were made to take advantage of bigger budget Hollywood fare.  Carnosaur was released right before Jurassic Park and sported a budget of around a million dollars.  It’s loosely based on a 1984 novel with the same name, authored by John Bronson.

Carnosaur lives up to its low budget, in both the acting and the creature FX.  There are a few dinosaurs in Carnosaur, but most of them are clearly hand puppets, with a few larger models thrown in.  John Carl Buechler, noted genre Director and FX guru, only had 10 weeks to get everything done, and it really shows.

As a can expect, the acting is pretty rough as well, although the always awesome Clint Howard does play a part in this mess.  You’ll probably recognize Jennifer Runyon from her small role in Ghostbusters as well.

I can’t really recommend Carnosaur, but it has its place in the genre along with recent entries such as Mega Piranha and Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus.  I think John Bronson, the author of the source material said it best when he said this movie is “Crap, but interesting crap.”

Michael Myers - Halloween II

I saw this announced a while back, but I was too focused on Texas Frightmare to worry about spending money on “other” collectables.  This is easily one of the best looking Halloween masks I have seen, and I will be ordering this for my movie room.  A question for anyone that collects masks like this though, what is the best way to display it?  I’ve seen some Styrofoam heads on Amazon that I might try, but wanted to see if there were any other recommendations out there.

Trick or Treat Studios makes some amazing masks, many of which I was lucky enough to see at Frightmare last weekend.  I would love to collect more of them, but I am limited on space, so I keep my collectables to items I really want to display.  I highly suggest you check them out though, very good stuff indeed!

Vamp (1986)

Posted: May 12, 2012 in Movie Review
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Vamp (1986)

Directed By: Richard Wenk

Starring: Robert Rusler, Chris Makepeace, Gedde Watanabe, Grace Jones, Dedee Pfeiffer

Subgenre: Vampires, Horror-Comedy

Vamp

Synopsis: Two college kids, desperate to make it into a fraternity, promise to bring strippers to the party.  They go looking for them in the wrong club.

Thoughts: Vamp plays as a comedy more so than a horror movie.  It was as if Revenge of the Nerds was thrown into a vampire tale.  Sadly, there were not a lot of funny parts to the movie.  The jokes were sophomoric and have not held up over time at all. 

The acting is in line with a mid-80s comedy as well, and I’m not talking about the classics, I’m talking about the ones that play on Showtime in the middle of the night (think Hardbodies and Up the Creek).  Robert Rusler has quite a few genre credits in his resume, most notably as Ron Grady in A Nightmare on Elm Street 2.   The most notable person in Vamp is Grace Jones.  She is down-right freaky here, and that’s before she turns into a vampire.  Much of Vamp’s popularity is due to Grace Jones.

There were some iconic vampire movies to come out in the mid-80s, namely The Lost Boys, Fright Night and Near Dark. Vamp has a place among noted vampire movies, but not because it is as good as those, but because of the terrifying visage of Grace Jones.  Other than that, I was pretty underwhelmed with Vamp.  There are a lot of vampire-comedy hybrids out there, and many of them better than Vamp.

Due to some conflicts with work, I was only able to attend Friday and Saturday this year, leaving around 4:00 Saturday afternoon.  This doesn’t mean that I wasn’t able to soak in tons of genre goodness, grab some choice signatures and see some great friends.

We arrived at the hotel Friday afternoon, about 3 hours before the show opened, just in time to see a sweet ride pull up. 

 Back to the Future Delorean

After checking into our room, we headed down for a beer and to see who was around.  It was good to see some old friends, as well as make some new ones.  That is really what TFW is all about.  It never ceases to amaze me just how friendly and genuine horror fans are.

My plan was to get as many signatures Friday night as possible.  I knew from past experience that Saturday is a mad house and the lines are much, much longer, so I wanted to avoid that if possible.  As we made a game plan for signatures and our time at TFW, we noticed right away that the new venue was huge. The last couple of years at the old venue were always really packed, so it was nice to see so much more room.

As soon as the doors opened, we headed for Tom Savini’s table.  I wanted to get my 11×17 posters signed so I could get them back up to the room.  There were a few people in his line, but nothing too crazy.  I had heard from a couple of people that he could be difficult to talk to, but I found him to be friendly and very engaging.  I had him sign my Dawn of the Dead Poster as well as Friday the 13th

 

Tom Savini

Tom Savini

 

After Tom’s both, I headed for Gaylen Ross, figuring to get my Dawn poster done for the event.  I was able to walk right up to her booth, and she was very sweet and one of the nicest celebrities I have ever met.

 

Gaylen Ross

Gaylen Ross

 

The same could be said for Barbara Crampton, who along with being very nice is still amazingly beautiful.  Her signature was the first on my Re-Animator poster, but hopefully it won’t be the last.  I looked around a bit for Ari Lehman, who for some reason wasn’t listed on the directory, but was in attendance.  I couldn’t find his booth, so I brought the posters up to the room and grabbed my Texas Chainsaw DVD and Behind the Mask print.

 

Barbara Crampton

Barbara Crampton

 

 

Dawn of the Dead

George A Romero, Tom Savini and Gaylen Ross

Barbara Crampton

Barbara Crampton

 

 

Meeting Gunnar Hansen, Ed Neal and Ed Guinn was very cool. I was surprised to learn that Ed Neal does a lot of voice over work, especially for the DC Universe.  He was hilarious and much goofier than I was expecting for The Hitchhiker.

 

Gunnar Hansen - Leatherface

Gunnar Hansen – Leatherface

Ed Guinn

Ed Guinn

Ed Neal

Ed Neal

 

 

 

Hooper, Hansen, Neal and Guinn

Hooper, Hansen, Neal and Guinn

 

One of the crowning moments was the Behind the Mask booth.  Director Scott Glosserman, Nathan Baesel, Ben Pace and Britain Spellings were having an absolute blast and were totally involved with the fans.  It took a while to get through the line because the guys were so talkative and friendly, but it was well worth it.  The guys all had fun with signing my print and even went as far as to personalize the van.

 

Behind the Mask Crew

These guys were a blast. They even convinced Nicole, my wife, to get into the picture as well. Only other one to ever accomplish that was George Romero.

 

 

Behind the Mask

The Behind the Mask crew – Glosserman, Baesal, Spellings, Pace

 

After getting some photos, it was time to get ready for Prom.  I had a lovely date and decided to forego costumes and just get dressed up.  It was an amazingly mixed crowd as some people just showed up in t-shirts, some dressed up and some were in costume.  There were several Carrie costumes and just about every other horror icon you can imagine.  There was even a very cool Alien costume on the dance floor at one time.  We left the Prom around midnight and headed to the bar upstairs where several of our friends were hanging out.  We stayed up late drinking and telling stories.

 

Prom

Prom with my lovely wife Nicole

 

Saturday was insane in the exhibit rooms, but I was able to finally find Ari Lehman and have him sign the Friday the 13th poster.  We ended up with a t-shirt for the wife and a couple of Winchester beer glasses for me, courtesy of T-shirt Bordello.  The last thing on my list was the Walking Dead panel.  It was a madhouse getting into it, but we were able to get some decent seats and really enjoyed the panel.  All the guests were very engaging and it was a very fun and informative 90 minutes.  We didn’t learn much about season 3, with the exception that Merle will be back.

 

Ari Lehman - First Jason

Ari Lehman – First Jason

 

 

Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th – Savini and Lehman

 

It was a little sad to have to leave a day early, but I was looking forward to being back home after being on the road all week before TFW and knowing that I would have to leave again on Sunday.  Loyd and company did an amazing job again this year and I guess it is time to start planning for next year!